WAUKEE — Perry wrestling head coach Trevor Kittleson is a believer in having wrestlers tested early in a season, sort of a “what does not kill you makes you stronger” approach that has paid off in the past.
Following that strategy takes Perry to the Al Garrison Duals in Waukee each year on the Saturday before Christmas. In most years, the Bluejays leave with hard-earned lessons that are, hopefully, locked away for future use.
Such was exactly the case this year, as Perry finished 1-4 in team action and had only three wrestlers finish with four or more wins.
Des Moines North/Hoover topped Perry, 45-33, in the first round of pool play, with Perry bouncing back to nip Harlan, 41-36, before being nicked by Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson, 41-36.
Benton Community handed Perry a 57-21 loss in the consolation round, with Perry’s day ending with a 39-34 loss to the Waukee ‘B’ squad.
There were bright spots for the Jays, notably senior Eli Saemisch and freshman Kaleb Olejniczak, as each finished 5-0, and in senior 285-pounder Tyler Soll, who posted a 4-1 mark.
Saemisch won a 10-5 decision against Phil Gaye of DMNH and pinned Spencer Boardman of Harlan in 2 minutes, 33 seconds while also receiving a forfeit. After a 3-0 run at 170 pounds, he stepped up to 182, where he pinned Bryce Timmerman of Benton Comm. in just 29 seconds, with a pin, in 60 seconds, of Waukee B grappler Brandon Tessau capping a perfect day.
Olejniczak (106 pounds) pinned Zeke Jones-Williams (DMNH) in 47 seconds, scored a 20-5 technical fall against Ronan Noeth (HAR) and nailed Anthony Humpal (CBTJ) in 1:36. He followed up with a pin of Hunter Northup (BC) in 2:48 and finished unblemished with a 15-3 major decision against Nick Miller of Waukee B.
Soll lost by fall in his opening match, but responded with a pin, in 1:16, of Daniel Soll (HAR) before posting a 7-3 win over Nick Mitchell (CBTJ). He won a 5-4 decision against Benton Community’s Anthony Draman and needed just 59 seconds to pin Waukee B’s Evan Edwards for a 4-1 mark.
Mana Martinez was 2-3 at 113 for Perry, with Fernando Catalan 3-2 at 120 while Bryan Catalan was 1-4 at 126 and Zach Stewart winless, at 0-5, at 132 pounds.
Gage Welch was 2-3 overall and Miguel Gonzalez 0-5 at 138/145, with Welch wrestling twice at 138 and three times at 145 and Gonzalez thrice and twice.
Troy Jahnke finished 2-3 at 152 and Tanner Darr 1-4 at 160, with Adan Medina 2-2 while splitting some matches with Saemisch (Medina lost twice at 170 and won twice at 182) while Dalton Humpal picked up a forfeit at 182 in his only trip to the mat.
Juan Campos was 1-4 in four matches at 195 and one at 220, with Alonzo Zarate 2-3 in one bout at 195 and four at 220.
Perry will start the new year early with a return to action Jan. 2 at the Des Moines Lincoln Duals.
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