Bluejay grapplers won championships in six weight classes and finished as the runner-up in two others to move within striking distance of the state tournament. Any wrestler who places first or second at the Webster City District Tournament Feb. 13 will secure an invitation to the Class 2A State Wrestling Tournament.
“I could not be prouder of how we wrestled today,” Perry head coach Trevor Kittleson gushed. “I knew it was possible we could have such a great result, but I was not sure it wold happen.
“We had some matches today that could have gone either way, but we won all but one or two of those the entire day,” he added. “We really rose up and came out ready to go.”
Kaleb Olejniczak (28-5) at 106 pounds, Zach Thompson (26-3) at 120, 10th-ranked Gisaveri Niyibizi (20-2) at 126, eighth-rated Kade VanKirk (25-4) at 132, Jacob Thompson 31-9) at 145 and Eli Saemisch (45-8) at 170 were all crowned champions, with Zach Stewart (21-16) winning a wrestle-back at 138 and Adan Medina (24-24) winning by rule at 182 to both finish second and also advance.
“I reminded the guys this morning of how hard they have worked, of how much effort they had put in this year,” Kittleson said. “I told them ‘The hay is in the barn, now go out there, have fun, kick some butt and reward all those people who have been rooting for you all year’ and that is exactly what they did.”
Perry won the team title with 228 points to earn a spot Tuesday in a dual team tourney at Creston. The Bluejays will face the hosts at 6 p.m. in one semifinal, with Glenwood facing Atlantic in the following semifinal.
Gilbert was second Saturday with 205 points, with Woodward-Granger third at 176, Kuemper Catholic fourth at 163.5 and Southeast Valley fifth at 138 while Greene County scored 83 points.
Olejniczak won his title at 106 with a 20-5 technical fall over W-G’s Hunter Pierce (33-17) before besting Gilbert’s Stephen Shuka (32-3) with a 6-3 decision in the finals while Zach Thompson recorded an 18-2 tech fall against W-G’s Colt Palmer (18-19) that was followed by a pin of Gilbert’s Sinjin Briggs (34-6) in 4 minutes, 39 seconds in the 120 finals.
Niyibizi pinned Sam Hemmestad (4-15) of SE Valley in 1:45 before pinning Garrisson [sic] Holck (20-20) of Gilbert in 4:54 at 126 for his crown while VanKirk won the 132 title with a 57-second pin of W-G’s Cole Carman (27-18) and an 8-0 major decision against SE Valley’s Trey Lawrence (40-7).
Pins in 35 seconds of Gilbert’s Eric Swart (22-26) and in 3:29 of Kuemper Catholic’s Zak Hulsing lifted Jacob Thompson to the 145 title, while Saemisch stood atop the 170 podium after pinning Aaron Sperling (24-22) of W-G in 1:03 and Kaelen Lundberg (34-11) of SE Valley in 2:38.
Like the six champions, Medina started with a bye. He pinned Kuemper Catholic’s Nathan Becker (30-15) in 3:12, but lost by fall to W-G’s Tanner Vermaas (49-5) in the finals at 182. He advanced by ‘prior’ after Becker won the consolation bout, allowing the first-year wrestler to join his Jay teammates in the districts.
Stewart had a longer route at 138. He won a 16-3 major decision over SE Valley’s Carter Fluckiger (10-27) in the quarterfinals, but then dropped a 7-3 decision in the semifinals to Kuemper Catholic’s Tim Sibbel (37-6). Stewart bounced back to knock of W-G’s Josh Saak (26-15) by a 7-2 score, then received a wrestle-back match, from which he advanced to districts with a 13-3 major decision over Gilbert’s Jake Larimore (29-22).
Manna Martinez (15-14) was fifth for Perry at 113 and Troy Jahnke (22-31) fourth at 152 while Tanner Darr (14-36) placed sixth at 160. Also in action for the Jays were Alonzo Zarate (16-30), who was fourth at 195, Juan Campos (8-21) who was fourth at 220 and Tyler Soll (15-22) who was third at 285.
Soll had received a bye, but then lost by fall to Kuemper Catholic’s Tucker Vonnahme (27-15). He responded by pinning W-G’s Cole Moran (3-8) in 42 seconds, but lost to Vonnahme on a ‘prior’ and was denied a wrestle-back opportunity.