Published Friday, December 13, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 12:15 am
Puncochar leads GICC at Wood River Invite

Kaleb Puncochar said he knew what to expect from Amherst’s Brandt Florell in the Wood River Invite’s 132-pound final.

"I’ve wrestled him in an offseason tournament so I knew what to expect from him," the Grand Island Central Catholic senior said.

That familiarity helped Puncochar out as he claimed the weight class by pinning Florell in 3 minutes, 17 seconds.

Four-time defending Class D champion Amherst dominated the Invite with five champions and six medalists to help the Broncos score 253 points, 121 more than runner-up Wood River.

Puncochar’s effort, along with two other medalists, helped the Crusaders take 10th with 76 points.

Puncochar, a two-time medalist for GICC, scored the first takedown with 17 seconds left of the first period. He started in the top position in the second period and never allowed Florell to get away and eventually got the pin.

Puncochar survived a 3-2 decision against David City Aquinas’ Jerrod Eickmeier in the semifinals before the matchup with Florell, who placed third at 126 in Class D last year. GICC coach Roy Emory said he was pleased with what Puncochar did.

"Kaleb really had a great today," Emory said. "Eickmeier is a tough kid and Kaleb really had to battle to win that match. He wrestled very well in the finals today. Florell is a tough kid. Kaleb went out and was aggressive and when he does that, he’s tough to beat. The first takedown was key in his match against Florell as he gained more and more confidence."

Puncochar raised his record to 6-0 on the season.

"Year’s going well so far and I feel strong at 132," he said. "Beating the kids I did today is going to help my confidence for the rest of the season."

Nathan Maginnis dropped a 6-2 decision to Amherst’s Kalen Klingelhoefer in the 113 final, while Josh Puncochar finished fourth at 160. Emory said he liked what he saw from not only the medalists, but from everyone.

"Nathan had a good tournament today and I feel he’s coming strong right now. Going to state last year has really given him some confidence and he’s been wrestling well," Emory said. "Josh the same way. He’s a hard-nosed kid and a good worker and when you have kids like that, they are going to be good. Overall, we had a lot of kids who fought hard all day and didn’t show any quit in them. We see improvements but we have a long way to go."

Wood River used two champions, along with three other medalists to help take second. Freshman Wyatt Allan took 106, while Colby Spiehs claimed 285.

Allan knocked off two wrestlers that medaled at state last year. In the 106 semifinals, he pinned Shelton/Kenesaw’s David Jimenez, who took fourth in Class C at 106, in 5:28. In the final, he rallied from a 5-0 deficit to defeat Kearney Catholic’s Alex Cantral 8-6 in overtime. Cantral finished second at 106 last year. Allan scored the winning takedown with 21 seconds left of overtime.

"He wrestled very solid today even though he still has a long ways to go," Wood River coach Darin Waddington said. "He wrestles a lot in the offseason and that’s what prepares him. He was kind of getting a mental breakdown in the second period and I told him to just wrestle. He did just that."
Spiehs had to go extra and then some to claim his 285-pound title. He outlasted Gibbon’s Aaron Bisbee 3-2 in the ultimate tiebreaker. It was a match where all the points were scored on escapes. After neither wrestle settled things in the overtimes, Spiehs got away from Bisbee right away in the final overtime to get the win.

"Colby finally cracked the puzzle against Bisbee and hopefully he can do that again," Waddington said. "We’ll see him again this year I’m sure and there’s a very good chance they will all be like that. Both are good and strong kids. Colby is so much stronger this year."

Taylor Erpelding fell in the 126-pound final to Sutton’s Tyler Bailey 10-4, while Austin Barg dropped a 6-4 decision to Shelton/Kenesaw’s Zach Oliver at 220. Ben Rickert earned a fourth-place finish at 195.

"The kids came out and wrestled hard for us today," Waddington said. "They showed a lot of improvement from last week (at the Ravenna Invite) and that was our main focus going into today. I’m happy with how we wrestled today because we really had a good showing today."

Also of note, Jimenez and Doniphan-Trumbull’s Tom Roach both recorded their 100th career wins during the tournament.

Wood River Invite

Team Standings: Amherst 253, Wood River 132, Kearney Catholic 126, Shelton-Kenesaw 117, Ord 109, Gibbon 94, David City Aquinas 87, Sutton 87, St. Paul 81, Grand Island Central Catholic 76, Doniphan-Trumbull 73, Elm Creek 60, Friend 55.5, Hastings St. Cecilia 28.

Individual Championships

106 — Wyatt Allan, WR, dec. Alex Cantral, KC, 8-6, SV.

113 — Kalen Klingelhoefer, AMH, dec. Nathan Maginnis, GICC, 6-2.

120 — Bryan Wietjes, AMH, pinned William Bloom, EC, 0:43.

126 — Tyler Bailey, SUT, dec. Taylor Erpelding, WR, 10-4.

132 — Kaleb Puncochar, GICC, pinned Brandt Florell, AMH, 3:17.

138 — Adam Keating, KC, pinned Logan Dibbern, AMH, 1:28.

145 — Zemua Baptista, FRI, dec. Evan Kranda, DCA, 6-1.

152 — Devin Dibbern, AMH, pinned David Gross, SP, 1:47.

160 — Mason Kligelhoefer, AMH, dec. Patrick Dempsey, FRI, 6-1.

170 — Colin Dibbern, AMH, pinned John Bitterman, SUT, 1:22.

182 — Thomas Connely, KC, pinned Gage Smedra, ORD, 3:37.

195 — Michael Duffy, SK, pinned Payton Schake, AMH, 4:54.

220 —Zach Oliver, SK, dec. Austin Barg, WR, 6-4.

285 — Colby Spiehs, WR, dec. Aaron Bisbee, GIB, 3-2 UTB.

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