COLUMBUS — Grand Island jumped out to an early 15-0 lead through four matches then had to hold off a late Columbus High rally during Thursday's dual.
After the Islanders went up 27-3 through eight matches, the Discoverers ripped off four straight wins to pull within 27-22 before Grand Island won the final two matches to seal the 39-22 victory at Columbus High School.
“Just dug ourselves too big of a hole,” CHS head coach Adam Keiswetter said.
Carson Zwingman got the comeback attempt started with a 13-3 major decision in the 170-pound match against Grand Island’s Alexzaiah Deras. Kasten Grape followed by pinning Daylon Keolavone in 30 seconds. Anthony DeAnda scored a 6-3 win over the Islanders’ Oscar Richter and Eddie Loredo pinned Alex Gomez to make it 27-22, but the Discoverers couldn’t get over the hump.
Keiswetter isn’t too concerned with the result, though. He knows how young this team is. Columbus had three freshmen and no seniors in its opening-day lineup.
Keiswetter expects senior Paxton Myers to be back Saturday for the Kearney Invite, and two-time state medalist Carter Kucera couldn't compete in the dual after failing the hydration test.
Their return will add some punch and veteran experience to the lineup while moving everyone back to their normal weight classes. Cade Fullner (152) and Avery McMeekin (160) both wrestled up a weight on Thursday and each lost by six points.
The Discoverers had to leave Kucera’s 126-pound spot open, giving Grand Island six free points, a possible 12-point swing in the dual if Kucera would have scored a pin.
Now is when the real work begins for Columbus. After focusing on basics during the preseason, the Discoverers have a match on film to work with.
“We know what to work on now and we can work on the specifics and technical details with each wrestler,” Keiswetter said.
Freshmen Tanner Kobza (113), Hunter Gassman (106), Alex Korte (132) and Jordan Williams (145) all lost the first matches of their high school careers, but Keiswetter was excited to see them on the mat.
“We had a big senior class leave last year and now it's time for the next group to start their journey,” he said.
Camdyn Iwan scored the first win of the season for the Discoverers at 138 pounds, a 5-2 decision over Jacob Sheldon.
Grand Island’s Ethan McPhillips pinned Tristan Colford at the heavyweight division.
Keiswetter is eager to keep watching the young wrestlers progress.
“We’ll show a lot of growth this season,” he said.