COLUMBUS — The venue may have changed, but the quality of the wrestlers and the teams participating stayed the same.
The 2013 High Plains invite was held at Central Community College north of Columbus this past weekend, the first time it left the Clarks gym in 43 years.
A total of 20 teams were on hand as the Omaha North Vikings came away with the team championship, easily beating out second-place Madison 231.5 points to 168.
Taking third was Schuyler with 153. Adams Central was fourth with 116.5 and rounding out the top five was Battle Creek with 116.
The Centennial Broncos had only five wrestlers in action during the two-day event, but all five made the final eight-man tournament brackets on Saturday in their respective weight classes. With three seconds, a fourth and a fifth, the Centennial grapplers took seventh place in the team race with 92 points.
The host High Plains Storm had nine wrestlers competing and four made the final eight brackets on Saturday. The Storm's top individual finish was second place and team-wise 54 points gave them 15th place overall.
Three Centennial wrestlers made the finals beginning with Doyle Trout at 113 who was 3-0 on opening day. After defeating Damon Rodriguez of Kearney Catholic 9-1 and Tyler Fredrick of Boone Central 11-3 on Saturday, Trout suffered his third loss of the season when Omaha North's Robert Ozuna (21-0) defeated the Centennial sophomore 12-7 in the final. Trout is 20-3 on the year.
At 195, Bronco Lucas Gruber was 4-0 on Friday. He opened Saturday with a win over Chase Doncheske of Palmer (3-1) but lost his championship bid to Trent Wagner (17-0) of Madison 12-0 to fall to 13-2 on the year.
In the 220-pound weight bracket Luke Studnicka went into Saturday with a 3-0 record and made his way to the championship match with wins over Kyle Bonk of Columbus Scotus (4:55) and Andrew Hostert of Omaha North (7-6), before losing in the finals to Travis Wright of Battle Creek by pin at the 3:15 mark. Studnicka is 20-4 on the season.
Taking fourth was Steven Bader at 120 pounds, while Cory Kennedy was fifth at 170.
For the Storm, Brandon Burruss was 3-0 in Friday's pool play matches. Saturday he got things started with a win over Omaha North's Mensah Olloway with a pin at 3:34, and then defeated Centennial's Bader 6-4 to earn his finals berth. It was Madison's Dakota Batenhorst who stopped Burruss' championship bid with an 8-3 decision. Burruss is now 16-7 on the year.
High Plains' heavyweight Kyle Beck was 3-1 on Friday to make the top eight for Saturday's action. Beck, a senior, lost his opening match on Saturday to Casey Johnson of Battle Creek by pin at 1:30, but then fought back to down Aaron Reynaga of Madison with a pin in 2:10 to take third place. Beck's record going into the Cross County Invite this coming weekend is 11-7.
Rounding out the rest of the Storm's Saturday qualifiers was Lane Church who took sixth at 132 and Tanner Fate, seventh at 152.
Several area teams will be in action this weekend at the Cross County Invitational on Saturday.