Columbus dominated the upper weights in the early going.
But Class A No. 2 Grand Island (Huskermat.com) returned the favor in the lighter weights to gain control.
After seeing the No. 7 Discoverers record pins from 160-195 pounds to take a 24-0 lead, the Islanders won six of the final seven matches to take a 43-33 win on opening night Thursday at Senior High.
Grand Island used a major decision, a forfeit victory and three pins in the final five matches to get the victory.
“There was a lot of great wrestling tonight,” GI coach Joey Morrison said. “We got off to a rough start but the kids hung in there and got the job done. I love this dual because Columbus is well trained and has some tough kids. It was a great win for our guys.”
It didn’t start well for the Islanders as Izaiah Deras (160) and Kolby Lukasiewicz (170) had leads in the second period but were turned to their backs and got pinned. In fact, Lukasiewicz had a 12-0 lead on Levi Bloomquist before getting reversed and put on his back.
“We had two matches where we were winning and we made some poor decisions and that came back to bite us,” Morrison said. “You just have to perform and we didn’t make good decisions in those matches.”
Columbus coach Adams Keiswetter said he wasn’t surprised with how Bloomquist just hung in there despite being down big.
“If there is a second left on the clock, I’m very confident that he’s going to do something to get the win,” he said. “I can never count that kid out of a match, no matter what the score is.”
But Blayze Standley, No. 1 at 182, and Lian Blaser earned pins for Columbus to take a 24-0 lead.
Antony Navarro put Grand Island on the board as he recorded a 1:25 pin over Justin Gaston at 220. Navarro got put on his back for a second but rolled through and put Gaston on his to get the pin.
“Antony did a great job for us as that was his first time on varsity,” Morrison said. “He made a mistake in going to his back but he didn’t panic and rolled through and got the pin for us. That was nice to see.”
The two teams each got six points in the next two matches as Michael Isele got a forfeit victory at 285 for the Islanders, while Columbus’ Brenyn Delano pinned Coben Colson at 106.
Madden Kontos recorded a 2-0 win over Kaden Brownlow for Grand Island at 113. That win impressed Morrison.
“Madden wrestled one of our better matches tonight. He won the scramble and got a takedown for us,” Morrison said.
Then the two teams split the next two matches in a battle of ranked wrestlers. At 120, No. 6 Blake Cerny earned a 4-2 win over Juan Pedro, Jr., who is No. 3 at 113 for Grand Island, while Blake Cushing, a defending champion and No. 2 at 126 for the Islanders, posted a 9-1 major decision over Adrian Bice, who is ranked No. 5 at 113 but wrestled up.
Both coaches were impressed with their winners in those matches.
Keiswetter said on Cerny’s win: “That was a revenge win for Blake because Juan beat him at the state tournament last year so that was nice to see him wrestle the way he did.”
Morrison said on Cushing’s win: “That was a matchup of two state finalists for the first match of the year and you really can’t ask for anything better than that. Blake really wrestled well in that match.”
After that, it was all Grand Island. Rogelio Ruiz (No. 4 at 132), Brody Arrants (No. 3 at 145) and Tyler Salpas (No. 5 at 152) all recorded pins, while Kael Kingery (No. 5 at 138) picked up a forfeit win for the Islanders to get them the victory.
Keiswetter said he was impressed with how the Discoverers wrestled.
“It was a lot closer than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “We got off to a great start with a lot of guys wrestling their first varsity actions and they got some big wins off the bat. That was cool to see.”
Morrison said he liked getting the win but knows there is room for improvement for the rest of the season.
“It’s a great start for our kids. I definitely see some things that we need to work on but it’s a great start to the season,” he said.