OMAHA — South Sioux City High School senior Caleb Kriens ended his high school wrestling career with a third-place finish in the Class B 160-pound match.
His decision to come back to wrestle after playing basketball paid off.
Kriens earned third place due to a medical forfeit on Saturday, and Kriens ended the season with a 32-8 record.
Kriens lost to No. 1-ranked Kobe Lyons in the semifinals, early Saturday morning but the 6-1 loss seemed closer than the scoreboard indicated.
Kriens tried to make the adjustment of staying on his feet, but Lyons got Kriens on two different slide-by moves that was just too good for Kriens to counter.
"Coming off the mat, I could just see the look in his eyes that he was close," Cardinals coach Evan Bohnet said. "He knew he was right there. That's a tough match to come back from."
The Cardinals senior, however, didn't have time to sulk in his loss. He had an hour to face the second-ranked guy in his bracket, Alex Banuelos of Minden.
Kriens recorded a takedown on the very edge of the mat in overtime to beat Banuelos, 3-1. The Cardinals senior knew where he was on the mat, as his big toe stayed inbounds to record the two points.
"That takes a lot of heart," Bohnet said. "A lot of guys could check out and tha speaks to the type of person, ad speaks to what type pride he has in his team. That's what I love about wrestling. It tests your character."
Kriens was asked whether he was going to be continuing his wrestling career at the collegiate level, and even after Saturday's win in third place, his answer remained a no.
"The door is always open for him," Bohnet said. "He showed up big at the state level."
The Wayne Blue Devils had three wrestlers who placed sixth. Martin Carrillo placed sixth at 285 in the B division, Ashton Munsell did so at 126 and Garrett Schultz was sixth at 106.