Perry wrestlers host large field for annual invitational

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Perry senior Kade VanKirk battles Easton Graff of Sergeant Bluff-Luton during the 132-pound semifinals of the Perry Invitational Saturday.

Sixteen visiting teams helped keep three mats in the Perry Senior High gym and two others in the Perry Middle School gym busy Saturday during the annual Bluejay Invitational.

The hosts had four wrestlers reach the finals in their respective weight classes while another wrestled in the runner-up bout.

Perry's Jacob Thompson takes down West Marshall's Levi Randall in the third place match at 145 pounds in the Perry Invitational Saturday.
Perry’s Jacob Thompson takes down West Marshall’s Levi Randall in the third place match at 145 pounds in the Perry Invitational Saturday.

Sergeant Bluff-Luton won the team crown with 191 points, with Dowling Catholic second at 178.5 and West Marshall third at 159. Webster City (147.5) was fourth, Des Moines East (124) fifth and Perry (115) sixth, with Logan-Magnolia (113), Carroll (99.5), Woodward-Granger (98), Saydel (80), St. Ansgar (89.5), South Hamilton (84.5), Carlisle (79), Des Moines North/Hoover (62), Panorama (49.5), Van Meter (46) and Eagle Grove (32) completing the field.

“Overall I though we did OK,” Perry head coach Trevor Kittleson said. “I would have liked to see a few more placers, and we lost some matches I think we could — or should — have won, but all told I thought we did well considering the competition.”

“Some of our guys ran into opponents who were simply too physical for them and that is always a problem for us,” he continued. “What we gained today is that we saw areas we need to work on. There was not anything really bad, just things we can correct in practice, and that is what you hope to gain at a tourney like this.”

Perry's Zach Thompson and Webster City's Drake Doolittle tangle for the title at 113 pounds Saturday in the Perry Invitational.
Perry’s Zach Thompson and Webster City’s Drake Doolittle tangle for the title at 113 pounds Saturday in the Perry Invitational.

Kittleson has long stressed the value of facing tough challenges throughout the season instead of padding the schedule against easier competition.

“We do not put a lot of pressure to win on the kids,” he said. “What we push is ‘getting after it’ and going hard all the way and I saw plenty of that today.”

Perry left the 106 pound weight class open and had their lone champion come out of the next division on the list as Zach Thompson (20-3) finished 3-0 to win the 133-pound crown.

Thompson received a first-round bye before scoring wins by pin and by technical fall to reach the finals. He was declared the winner against Webster City’s Drake Doolittle when the latter was disqualified for an illegal move.

Gisaveri Niyibizi (9-1) returned at 126 pounds for his first action since the opening week of the season. He scored two wins by decision after an opening bye before falling, 1-0, to second-ranked Brayden Curry of SB-L in the championship match.

Perry's Eli Saemisch nears a pin of Carlisle's Orrey Reed in the semifinals at 170 pounds Saturday at the Perry Invitational.
Perry’s Eli Saemisch nears a pin of Carlisle’s Orrey Reed in the semifinals at 170 pounds Saturday at the Perry Invitational.

Kade VanKirk (15-3) recorded a pair of pins and a decision before dropping a 6-1 decision in the finals at 132 to top-ranked Cole Needham of West Marshall.

Also finishing second was 170-pounder Eli Saemisch (28-8). The Bluejay senior had a bye and then two wins by fall before being handed a 9-4 loss by decision from West Marshall’s Jared Johnson in the finals.

Jacob Thompson (16-7) was 4-1 with four pins in placing third at 145. He finished as one of five grapplers in the tourney to record four pins, doing so in a fifth-fastest combined time of 12 minutes, 33 seconds.

Fernando Catalan was 2-2 at 120 with two wins by decision but was unable to place, with Troy Jahnke 1-2 with a win by technical fall at 152.

Gage Welch (138), Tanner Darr (160), Adan Medina (182), Alonzo Zarate (195), Juan Campos (220) and Tyler Soll (285) were all in action for the hosts but were unable to record a victory.

Perry returns to the mat Thursday when they host Carlisle and Des Moines Lincoln for a triangular, with the Bluejays to compete in the Williamsburg Invitational Saturday.

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