Two champions, two runners-up for Perry wrestlers at RRC tourney

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Many members of the Perry varsity wrestling team pose while relaxing during a break Saturday in the RRC tournament. The Bluejay grapplers are, from far left, Adan Medina (gray top), Kade VanKirk, Kevin Lopez, Gisaveri Niyibizi (on back), Juan Campos, Tanner Darr, Tyler Soll, Gage Welch, Jacob Thompson, Alonzo Zarate and Zach Stewart.

Eli Saemisch and Zach Thompson were crowned champions while Gisaveri Niyibizi and Jacob Thompson suffered narrow losses in the finals of their respective weight classes at the Raccoon River Conference tournament Saturday.

ADM won the team title with 229 points, with Ballard second at 190.5 and Carlisle third at 154. Carroll (148.5) was fourth and Perry (147) fifth, with Winterset (130), Boone (100) and Bondurant-Farrar (48) completing the field.

Perry's Eli Saemisch makes a move on Carlisle's Travis Johnston in the title bout at 170 pounds at Saturday's Raccoon RIver Conference tourney.
Perry’s Eli Saemisch makes a move on Carlisle’s Travis Johnston in the title bout at 170 pounds at Saturday’s Raccoon River Conference tourney.

Saemisch continued his stellar senior season by improving to 43-8 in winning the 170-pound division. He was one of only four wrestlers to record three pins in the tourney, doing so in a third-fastest combined time of only 6 minutes, 24 seconds.

He opened with a pin of Eden Dearden (B-F) in 2:22, then needed just 1:21 to pin Ben Lee (BAL). An emotional Saemisch jumped to his feet and clapped his hands once after putting Travis Johnston’s (CRL) shoulders to the mat in 2:41 in the finals.

Zach Thompson (24-3) is rated 10th at 113 pounds but wrestled up, at 120. It hardly mattered.

He received a first-round bye, then needed just 42 seconds to pin ADM’s Hogan Hopewell in the semifinals, with a 3-2 decision over Ballard’s Skley Noftsger giving the sophomore the title of conference champ.

Perry sophomore Zach Thompson wrestled up a weight at 120, but still managed to win the RRC championship, defeating Ballard's Skyler Noftsger in the title match.
Perry sophomore Zach Thompson wrestled up a weight at 120, but still managed to win the RRC championship, defeating Ballard’s Skyler Noftsger in the title match.

Niyibizi (18-2) wasted little time in reaching the finals, using only 27 seconds to pin Devon Schweitzer (CAR) and 1:35 to stick James Runestad (BNE) to set up a rematch with Ballard’s Tate Battani, who Niyibizi had defeated, 11-5, Thursday.¬†Unfortunately for the Bluejay senior, the Bomber matman was able to earn revenge with a 5-4 win to take the RRC title at 126.

Also reaching the finals was Jacob Thompson (29-9) at 145. Thompson pinned both Tyler Squires (CRL) and Justin Smith (WNT), in 4:19 and 1:19, respectively, but suffered a closely-fought 9-7 decision to Carroll’s Sam Kastle to finish as runner-up.

Perry 126-pounder Gisaveri Niyibizi lifts Ballard's Tate Battani in the RRC title match Saturday.
Perry 126-pounder Gisaveri Niyibizi lifts Ballard’s Tate Battani in the RRC title match Saturday.

Mana Martinez (15-13) at 113, Troy Jahnke (21-29) at 152 and Adan Medina (23-23) at 182 all finished 2-2 to place fourth for the Bluejays. Martinez recorded two pinfalls, Jahnke decisions of 4-2 and 3-1, and Medina a 16-5 major decision and a pin.

Placing fifth with a 2-2 mark at 132 was Zach Stewart (18-15), who recorded a 9-5 decision and a 13-2 major decision, with Alonzo Zarate (15-28) fifth at 195 with a 2-2 tally that included an exhausting 18-13 decision and a 13-5 major decision.

Also finishing fifth was Juan Campos (8-19) at 220, with Tanner Darr (14-34) sixth for the hosts at 160.

Gage Welch (3-20) and Tyler Soll (14-21) were in action for Perry at 138 and 285, respectively, but neither were able to secure a victory.

Perry's Troy Jahnke escapes WInterset's Josh Smith in their match at 152 pounds in Saturday's RRC tourney. Looking on are Perry volunteer coaches, from left, Nick Field, Drew Niebuhr and Mikel Hansen.
Perry’s Troy Jahnke escapes WInterset’s Josh Smith in their match at 152 pounds in Saturday’s RRC tourney. Looking on are Perry volunteer coaches, from left, Nick Field, Drew Niebuhr and Mikel Hansen.

Perry, which left the 106-pound class open, will host the Class 2A Sectional 16 tournament at 12 p.m. Saturday. Gilbert, Greene County, Kuemper Catholic, SE Valley and Woodward-Granger will also attend.

The top two finishers in each weight class will advance to the District 8 tourney in Webster City Feb. 13, where they will face the champion and runners-up from the Garner Sectional 15 tourney, which includes Algona, fourth-ranked Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, Forest City, Humboldt, Webster City and host Garner-Hayfield-Ventura.

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