ADEL — Perry junior Cole Nelson entered Saturday’s Class 2A District 1 tournament as the eighth-ranked wrestler at 120 pounds.
Unfortunately, the four-man bracket also included the top-ranked and fourth-rated grapplers as well, and the final results were “chalk” with the higher-ranks advancing.
Nelson (37-7) opened against Bondurant-Farrar senior Rylie Anderson (31-2), who scored a 5-1 win. The Perry junior responded by recording a 10-3 decision over Saydel freshman Kolton Keller (22-9), but did not receive a wrestle-back match as top-rated McKinley Robbins of Greene County (29-0) beat Anderson in the finals. As Anderson had a prior win over Nelson in the tourney, no rematch was held, and Nelson was stopped from a third consecutive trip to Des Moines.
“No doubt we wanted to see him (Nelson) make state, and I know he will be disappointed,” Perry head coach Mark Weber said. “But it is all about perspective, and what you do when it doesn’t go your way.
“Cole made big strides as an individual and as a leader on the team, both in the locker room and outside of it,” Weber added. “What matters now is how he uses this — does he learn, commit himself, and come back stronger, or does he just settle?”
Weber noted Nelson intends to play golf this spring, and said he was pleased by the news.
“I have told all the guys they need to participate in at least one other sport before next (wrestling) season, and that they definitely need to be in the weight room as often as possible,” he said. “It is important to be involved in other sports, to have different teammates, and to be exposed to different styles of coaching.”
COVID concerns hovered over the team this season, but Perry came through almost unscathed, missing just one pre-Christmas competition.
“We wrestled a lot of matches this year,” Weber said. “For that I want to thank our administration, coaches, and parents. We proved that with the right programs in place and with dedication and some good luck you could have almost a full season. The credit goes to a lot of people.”