Perry will have eight matmen and Woodward-Granger three in action at Saturday’s Class 2A District Tournament in Adel, where qualifying spots in the state tourney will be up for grabs. The excitement begins at 12 p.m.
The district format is of four-man brackets in each of the 14 weight classes. Perry competed at the Webster City sectional and Woodward-Granger at North Polk. The champions from each district will face the runner-up from the other, with district champions and runner-up finishers both moving on to the state tournament.
A wrestler who loses his first match is in serious peril, as he is automatically eliminated if the opponent to whom he lost then loses in the finals. However, a first-round loser could still advance, should he win the consolation bout, by then winning a wrestle-back, a situation that would arise if the loser of the finals was the winner of the other first round bout, setting up a situation where the pair had yet to met on the mat.
Perry has four champions in action and W-G one, and the schools have wrestlers in the same bracket only once — at 113 pounds.
Senior and second-ranked Kaleb Olejniczak (41-1 at 138 pounds) leads the way for Perry. A three-time state qualifier, Olejniczak — who will wrestle for Northern Iowa — will become the school’s all-time victory leader with his next win, which would give him 175, one more than 2018 graduate Zach Thompson.
Olejniczak, second at 126 as Perry competed in 3A last year, will open his fourth district event against Ballard junior Alex Bangs (20-23), with North Polk sophomore Nicholas Bockenstedt (27-7) facing Roland-Story senior Reynaldo Torres (13-6) in the other duel.
Fellow Bluejay senior Justin Stammer (33-14) begins his drive at 152 pounds against Brodrick Schmidt (28-14), a junior from host ADM. Van Meter/Earlham junior Bryce Cole (32-8) and Gilbert junior Carson Johnson (39-7) are set to meet in the opposite match.
Perry junior Jacob Nelson (30-14) will square off with VM/E junior Tyler Haynes (32-9) in one half of the 132-pound bracket, with Ballard sophomore Gage Long (34-10) facing Gilbert freshman Jake Shedarowic (31-16) in the other.
Junior Cole Snyder (29-16) was a sectional champ for the Bluejays at 182 pounds. He is slated to battle Ballard sophomore Mason Askelsen (22-15), with the other pairing featuring third-ranked junior Nolan Harsh (34-1) of ADM against Webster City senior Michael Gilbert (21-19).
The lone sectional champ for Woodward-Granger is junior Cody Fisher (39-1), who is top-ranked at 220 pounds. Fisher was second as both a freshman and a sophomore at 195 and, already 140-10 overall in three seasons, is seeking another shot at the title that has twice narrowly eluded the Iowa State-bound standout.
Fisher opens with Webster City sophomore Gage Rossing (7-7), with Gilbert sophomore Cayden Maskan (34-7) and eighth-ranked ADM junior Kaden Sutton (31-5) on the opposing side of the bracket.
The four remaining Bluejays and two other Hawks will begin their quests for state tournament spots against the champion at their weight from the opposite sectional.
Perry freshman Cole Nelson (33-12) faces VM/E sophomore Riley Harger (28-12) in the 106-pound division. The other pairing pits seventh-ranked Webster City frosh Camron Phetxoumphone (33-4) against Saydel freshman Clayton Myers (24-18).
The Jays and Hawks both have grapplers vying for a spot at 113 pounds. Perry sophomore Riece Graham (16-26) starts against VM/E senior and sixth-rated Zane Dodson (31-6) with W-G freshman Aidan Honkomp (28-15) to battle Roland-Story junior Joe Hovick (31-10).
Sophomore Jeb Stewart (7-5) stepped up in weight to finish as the 145-pound runner-up in Webster City and will fave Quinn Corcoran (29-11) a senior from VM/E. On the other side is the pairing of seventh-ranked senior Koby Hasselbrock (3603) of Roland-Story and Saydel sophomore Jake Van Houten (19-12).
Bluejay junior 160-pounder Erick Funez (14-30) will take to the mat against eighth-rated junior Caleb Swalla (32-4) of VM/E. Top-ranked Ballard senior Skyler Noftsger (32-1) — upset by Swalla at sectionals — faces Webster City senior Sean Godfredsen (20-20) in the other 160-pound opener.
The final wrestler to start Saturday will be W-G junior heavyweight Tyler Lawrenson (35-6), who be contested by Gilbert junior Jacob Torresi (30-13). Fourth-ranked VM/E junior Derrin Sesker (35-1) will face Roland-Story senior Miachel Schiermaster in the other 285-pound duel. Sesker and Lawrenson are quite familiar with each other, the former owning four narrow wins over the latter this season, building the tension for a possible score-settling duel should the two WCAC foes meet.
The Class 2A State Wrestling Tournament will begin with the 6 p.m. session Feb. 14 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Mark Weber is the Perry head coach, with Dave Smeltzer head coach at W-G.