By Jeff Webster
DES MOINES — Perry freshman Zach Thompson (45-9) scored a 9-2 decision over Davenport Assumption sophomore Sean Casey (33-16) in their opening round bout at 106 pounds at the Class 2A State Wrestling Tournament Thursday.
The win moves Thompson into a Friday morning match with sophomore Gabe Ruepke of Chariton, who improved to 24-3 with a 7-0 win against Winterset junior Logan Allen (26-19).
“He does not let a lot of stuff phase him,” Perry head coach Trevor Kittleson said of Thompson. “He is a cool cucumber and did not let it (his first appearance at the state meet) get into his head.
“Zach did a good job of doing what we wanted him to do. He went out and treated it like just another match and looked good.”
A win would move Thompson into Friday night’s semifinals, where he would face a daunting task: either top-ranked Gable Sieperda (48-0) of Central Lyon/George-Little Rock or second-rated Michael Millage (39-1) of Crestwood, both of whom are also freshmen. A loss would drop Thompson into a consolation bout against Allen; a win there would also ensure a spot of the final podium.
Van Kirk’s third trip to the state tourney ended as his first two — with a pair of losses on the opening day.
The junior bows out at 45-13 after a 4-0 loss to Oelwein junior Brennan Ryan (ranked seventh, 43-9) in the first round and a 6-1 loss to 10th rated Boyden Hull/Rock Valley frosh Austin Rozeboom (41-5) in the consolation bracket.
“I know he expected to do better and the coaches felt the same way,” Kittleson said. “Kade always goes out and wrestles very hard, and some times he makes the kind of mistake that would not hurt him during the early part of season but which will kill you at State. He should be proud of being here three times, but we have to get him over that (first day) hump.”
Niyibizi finished his junior campaign at 34-11 after two tough losses in his first visit to the state tourney.
“He was in great shape mentally and ready to go,” Kittleson said. “He wrestled really well but had two tough matches go against him. I hope we can keep him motivated through next year like we was at the end of this year.”
Niyibizi dropped a 4-2 decision in Sudden Victory to fifth-ranked senior Tristan Clark of PCM (42-3) on a call that did not sit well with the Perry coaching staff.
He trailed Spirit Lake Park freshman Adam Skopec (35-11), 8-6, in their consolation match before Skopec found an opening and recorded a fall at 5 minutes, 38 seconds.
Check www.theperrynews.com and theperrynews facebook page for details as they emerge.
Good luck Zach!