CHS rolls through GNAC tournament
Columbus wrestling entered the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference tournament the clear favorite to walk away with another team title.
Eight gold medals, the Discoverers did exactly that.
CHS put up a team total of 211 points, easily outdistancing Hastings with 150. North Platte with 125 was third followed by McCook with 106, Gering with 80 and Scottsbluff with 48.
Columbus won a medal in all 13 weight classes in which it fielded a wrestler and sent a total of 10 to championship matches.
“We were just really dominant,” said Columbus High head coach Adam Keiswetter on Monday. “Everybody is just hitting on all cylinders. Even some of our freshman did really well.”
During the tournament, the Discovers went 44-8 in head-to-head matches.
Carter Kucera, ranked No. 5 at 132 pounds according to NEwrestle.com, improved to 29-1 pinning three opponents on his way to the championship match where he defeated No. 4 (Class B) Izaak Hunsley of Hastings 3-1.
With the tournament victory, Kucera became the second ever wrestler from Columbus High School to be a four-time Greater Nebraska Conference tournament champion.
The first was former NCAA and state champion Jay Sherer.
Kucera won the tournament at 106 as a freshman, 113 as a sophomore, 126 as a junior and 132 as a senior.
Kucera is also on track to become the all-time career wins leader wrestler in Columbus history. He just surpassed 150 victories, 20 away from the current record held by three-time state champ Colton Wolfe.
At 138 pounds, Alex Korte won by decision in the first round before recording two pinfalls and winning 9-2 in the semifinals. He pinned Eli Thompson of Gering in the first minute for the championship.
Rylee Iburg struck gold at 145 going 2-0 during the tournament including a sudden victory win over Hastings Class B No. 6 Mason Brumbaugh. Brumbaugh had won the two previous matches against Iburg both by pinfall.
Cade Fullner placed first at 152 pinning three opponents on the way to the championship where he defeated Jacob Awiszus of Gering 9-6.
160-pounder No. 5 Avery McMeekin pinned both of his opponents including Class B No. 5 Cash Aresdorf of North Platte for the title.
No. 1 Carson Zwingman improve to 25-0 at 182 pinning all three opponents including Class B No. 6 Alec Langan from McCook in the third period.
At 220 No. 2 Kasten Grape also won by pinfall in all three of his matches while remaining perfect at 29-0 and running his pin streak to 25 in a row.
No. 6 Eddie Loredo at 285 won gold with one pinfall and two decisions before defeating Hastings’ Josh Callejas by sudden victory.
Blake Cerny (106) and Blayze Standley (170) won silver, No. 6 Clay Cerny (113) and No. 4 Tanner Kobza (120) won bronze and Carsen Marking placed fourth.
“It’s probably one of our easiest tournaments, because we try to find the toughest competition we can,” Keiswetter said. “As far as the conference tournament compares to some of our other tournaments, it’s not even close to the toughest because we go to a lot of other big ones.
“We’re seeing tons of good teams and the conference tournament just can’t quite measure up to that. There’s some guys (that are tough in the conference), but overall the strength of the conference isn’t what it use to be.”
The next tournament for the Discovers is the High Plains tournament this weekend at Central Community College - Columbus. The Discoverers are back in dual action at home Thursday against Millard South.
“Hopefully we can get all the pieces put together before the end of the season,” Keiswetter said. I think if we can get everybody in the right spot, which we’re getting really close to, we should be one of the contenders for the state duals.”
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org