Late takedown eludes Grape in final match
Wichita Kyle Grape set the bar high last year when he won a state championship at 140 pounds as a sophomore.
Now a Lansing High junior wrestling at 145 pounds, Grape hoped to repeat last year's success.
There was one problem, though. St. Thomas Aquinas senior Andy Hurla stood in his way. Hurla edged Grape, 8-7, in the state finals Saturday at the Kansas Coliseum, leaving Grape in second place.
"It came right down to the wire," Grape said. "I wrestled good. He wrestled good. I give him all the credit, but there's a couple things I could've done."
Grape ran into trouble early when he misfired on a few shots. Hurla capitalized on the misses with a pair of takedowns and three escapes. The result was a 7-3 lead after two periods.
"I wanted to hurry up and get that takedown really quick like I did last year," Grape said, referencing his championship match last year when he took control early. "I think it kind of got to me."
Grape never backed down. He pulled within 7-4 on an escape with 1:32 left in the match. He then pulled within a point after scoring on a takedown with 49 seconds left. He then cut Hurla loose to try to set up a match-tying takedown. The takedown never came.
Hurla stalled for the final 20 seconds and eventually was called for a stalling penalty to make it 8-7, but Grape never was able to register the winning takedown.
"I just lost a tough match to a good senior," Grape said. "I've still got one more year to come back and get another title. I'm kind of relieved about that. It wasn't my senior year."
Grape finished the season with a 37-3 record.