The guesswork is over, and the final preparations can now begin in earnest for Perry’s three state wrestling tournament qualifiers.
Second-ranked senior 138-pounder Kaleb Olejniczak, junior Jacob Nelson (132 pounds) and freshman Cole Nelson (106 pounds) discovered Sunday what the initial stages of their state tournament experience will look like.
Sixteen wrestlers qualify at each of the 14 weights in the three classes. Perry competes in Class 2A, which begins action at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Each weight is broken into four four-man “mini-brackets” for the first round. The two winners will pair off in the quarterfinals at 2:30 p.m. Friday, with the losers battling later Thursday, where a win sends the 1-1 grappler into the Friday afternoon second round consolations, where a further win would secure a position on the podium.
Olejniczak (43-1) is now the all-time victory leader at Perry with a career record of 176-20. Second to four-time champion Brody Teske of Fort Dodge at 126 pounds in 3A last year, the four-time qualifier and two-time medalist admits to clearly eyeing a 180-20 record, a result that would give Perry a second consecutive 138-pound champion, as Zach Stewart won the weight in 3A last year.
Olejniczak opens against Troy Schnathorst (35-9), a Carlisle senior. Osage senior Brody Roll (38-19) and seventh-ranked West Delaware freshman Jayden Payton (36-7) are in the opposite bracket.
Jacob Nelson (32-14) faces third-ranked Williamsburg junior Jalen Schropp (37-2). Opposing the pair is the matching of Louisa-Muscatine senior Cody Calvelage (30-5) and fifth-ranked West Delaware senior Ryan Phillips (35-5).
Cole Nelson begins his first state tourney against Cresco frosh Carter Fousek (36-4), who carries a No. 3 ranking. Fifth-rated Bondurant-Farrar sophomore Rylie Anderson (32-1) will square off against Atlantic freshman Gammell McLaren (40-13) in the other side of the bracket.
Perry is coached by Mark Weber, who is taking three Bluejays to the state tourney for the third consecutive season.