DES MOINES — Perry finished 3-2 as a team while securing fifth place in the 10-team Des Moines Lincoln Duals Saturday.
Ankeny Centennial topped Class 2A No. 7 Glenwood for the top team honors with a 40-31 victory while Iowa City trounced Atlantic, 51-24, for third place. Perry was fifth thanks to a 39-33 victory over host DM Lincoln, with DM Roosevelt beating Bondurant-Farrar, 54-22, for seventh place while DM North/Hoover whipped Sioux City West, 54-18, to avoid the cellar.
Perry started the 2016 portion of their season with losses of 47-24 to Glenwood and of 40-30 to Atlantic before bouncing back with a comfortable 45-21 defeat of DM Roosevelt. An easy 65-18 win over DM North/Hoover followed, setting up the fifth-place dual with DM Lincoln.
“This was, I think, our best team effort this season,” Perry head coach Trevor Kittleson said. “I was happy with our energy, and this is the best we have looked, from top to bottom, and as a team, so far this season.
“I think the guys are pretty close as a team and have a lot of fun together, and it shows during matches with the way they are pulling for each other,” he added. “Having that kind of support matters, too. You know it when your teammates are backing you and that can make a difference.”
The Bluejays led the Railsplitters, 33-30, with two matches remaining. The Jays secured the win when senior Kade VanKirk pinned Luke Holliday in 65 seconds at 132 pounds. The pin was the fifth in the duals for VanKirk, with the quintet coming in an all-around tourney runner-up best combined time of 9:20.
VanKirk, a three-time state qualifier, is ranked ninth in 2A at 132. He sat out the first half of the season while battling a nagging injury, and his return came in exactly the fashion Perry head coach Trevor Kittleson expected.
“He came out ready to go and was dominant,” Kittleson said. “I know it was driving him crazy having to sit and watch for six weeks, but now I think we have finally gotten him feeling good. If he can battle through he can have the kind of year I know he wants to have. It will be up to us (as coaches) to keep on eye on him and up to him to fight through what he can.”
Zach Thompson (113 pounds) also went undefeated to lift his record to 11-0. He scored a win by pin in 26 seconds and had a 20-5 technical fall while receiving three forfeits.
“I was actually kind of happy to see it turn out that way,” Kittleson said of having three of five wins by forfeit. “Zach is coming off appendix surgery and it was good for him to get some action but not have to go all out while he builds his strength and stamina back up.”
Jacob Thompson made it a trio of 5-0 Jays with an unblemished run at 145. He scored pins in 1:26, 1:31 and 1:45 while scoring a 12-2 major decision and receiving one forfeit.
Tenth-ranked Kaleb Olejniczak moved to 21-3 with a 4-1 mark at 106 pounds. The standout freshman recorded pins in 1:24 and 1:26 while tallying major decisions of 12-3 and 16-4.
Eli Saemsich was 3-2 Saturday to move to 21-5. He scored a pin in 31 seconds, had a major decision of 15-7 and a tech fall of 18-3 while battling hard before suffering a 12-7 loss to second-ranked Anthony Sherry of Glenwood. Saemisch stepped up to 182 to face Atlantic’s Drake Roller and was taken down by fall.
“Eli wrestled well,” Kittleson said. “He gave Sherry all he could handle, and I think he was still a bit tired from that when he had to go against a good kid from Atlantic. After that he had three nice wins, so everything is fine (with him).”
Adan Medina was 3-2 for Perry with a pin and a victory by injury default at 182. He dropped to 170 against Atlantic, scoring an 11-7 decision to stand at 15-11 overall, the third most wins for the Jays.
Troy Jahnke (152) was 2-3 with a pin in 1:29 and an 8-2 decision, with Dalton Humpal 2-3 at 195 with wins by fall (32 seconds) and by an 11-6 decision.
Tanner Darr (160) finished 2-3 with a forfeit and an 86-second pin, with Alonzo Zarate (220) 2-3 with a forfeit and a pin in 2:23 while Tyler Soll (285) was 1-4 with a pinfall victory in 66 clicks.
Fernando Catalan (120) and Zach Stewart (126) each received a forfeit to set against three losses apiece while Miguel Gonzalez (138) was winless in three matches.
Perry returns to action Thursday when the join Van Meter for a triangular at Bondurant-Farrar before they compete Saturday in an always-tough Ames Invitational.
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