A strong finish prevented Columbia High's wrestling team from being shutout on the mat in a Trico Division match here last Thursday.
The Bruins (0-3 in Trico) won three of the final four matches to earn 15 of their total points in a 60-20 loss to the always-tough Stevenson Bulldogs.
Senior Kenny Mace got CHS started, scoring three points in posting a 7-5 minor decision in his heavyweight match with Stevenson's Jeremy Fleming.
After 130-pound Keith Ingram lost by pin, sophomore Levi Miller (135) and senior Billy Strickland (140) racked up back-to-back, first-round pin wins for another 12 points.
The Bruins actually tallied 21 points but official Tom Harmening deducted one point from their total for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Columbia's first six points came before the evening's first match. Freshman Amber Casey won the 103-pound class by forfeit -- CHS's only such victory.
In comparison, Stevenson won four matches by forfeit -- three in the lightweights (112, 119, 125) and one in the upper weights (171) -- to account for 24 of its 60 points.
The Bulldogs earned their remaining 36 points by pinning Bruins.
"We didn't win as many matches as we would've liked," Bruins Coach Matt Cox said, "but I thought we competed well and wrestled some pretty good matches."
One of those that fall into that classification was junior Cameron Mace's bout at 215. He took his opponent, Sawyer Rockowski, into the second round before succumbing at the 1:25 mark.
Sophomore Keith Ingram (130) just missed taking his match to the second round. Angel Echevarria put him away with three seconds remaining in the first round and Ingram trailing 7-3.
In the 152-pound contest, sophomore Nolan Kenoyer held on longer than either Mace or Ingram.
He lasted into the second round against Jared Shank, going down for the count with 45 seconds left in the period.
Ramona Fuwell (140), Dean Leininger (160) and Josh Burrell (189) all lost by first-round falls.
Considering the competition, Cox said Columbia's wrestlers gave a good account of themselves.
"Stevenson is tough. You can always expect a tough match from them," he added.
Woodland, CHS's first opponent of the week, also might have proved to be a tough opponent had both teams fielded full lineups during their Jan. 14 match.
The visiting Beavers prevailed, 51-30, in a competition that featured four matches and 10 forfeits.
Woodland racked up 42 points on forfeits and nine more with two on-mat victories.
Winning and scoring for the Bruins were Miller (2nd-round pin) and Kenoyer (2nd-round pin).