WOODWARD — Ranked eighth in Class 2A at 120 pounds, Perry junior Cole Nelson earned his third consecutive trip to the district tournament after placing second Saturday at the 2A Sectional 2 tourney.
Nelson (36-5) has competed at the state tournament twice in his career and will be seeking another journey to the biggest stage in prep wrestling. He was kept from the podium as a freshman at 106 pounds before placing sixth at 113 last season and is currently 109-29 in his career.
The Bluejay standout scored a 3-0 win over Van Meter/Earlham’s Riley Harger (35-7) to begin his day at sectionals, but then dropped a tight 4-3 decision to top-ranked McKinley Robbins (27-0) of Greene County in the finals. Nelson trailed, 4-2, before a late escape, but was unable to score further in falling to the second place match, which he won automatically on a prior as Harger had won his consolation bout but had previously lost to Nelson.
Three Perry grapplers just missed moving on by placing third, including 106-pounder Taylor Atwell (4-17). She was 2-2 Saturday, winning by pin and injury default before losing by fall to Woodward-Granger’s Alex Saxton (29-7) in the runner-up match.
Senior Jeb Stewart finished his final campaign, 23-18 overall and third at 145 pounds. Stewart opened with a pin, then dropped a 7-1 decision to Jackson Boese (VM/E, 28-15). A 4-2 win in Sudden Victory I kept Stewart alive, but Boese fell into the wrestle-back match, defeating the Bluejay by prior win.
Also third for Perry was heavyweight Alan Gomez (22-14). He opened with a bye, lost by fall, and then dropped a 4-0 decision to W-G’s Alex Evans (25-8) in their wrestle-back.
Tanner Burgin (12-27 at 138) was 1-2 with a pin, with Kain Killmer (1-19 at 170), Brian Hernandez (3-17 at 182) and Kevin Colin (1-11 at 220) all winless in one bout and placing fifth.
Placing sixth with a pair of setbacks in both of their matches were Kyle Hernandez (1-9 at 132), Anthony Tlaceca (1-16 at 152), and Keegan Snyder (12-27 at 160).
Perry did not have entrants at 113, 126 or 195 pounds.
Greene County’s 220 points topped the team results, with W-G second at 182 while ADM slipped past Gilbert, 177-5-177, for third place. Van Meter/Earlham finished with 163 points, with Perry totaling 96 points.