Seven national top-10 team finishes
DECORAH—The Central College wrestling team was bested 36-7 by No. 13-ranked Luther College in its Iowa Conference regular season finale Friday.
The Norse (15-6 overall, 5-2 conference) won eight matches, including three by fall and one by forfeit, en route to the 29-point victory.
“We have a lot of respect for Luther,” coach Eric Van Kley said. “They’re a good team and it was a tough matchup for us. We battled, but there’s a reason they’re (nationally) ranked.”
Two upperclassmen provided the bright spots for the Dutch (5-10 overall, 1-6 conference) in 149-pounder TJ Peretti (senior, Auburn, Wash., Mountainview HS) and No. 9-ranked 197-pounder Tyler Lowy (junior, Phoenix, Ariz., Thunderbird HS). Peretti scored a 14-4 major decision over Cody Orr, while Lowy won by 5-0 decision over Tyler Walls.
“TJ and Tyler had good wins,” Van Kley said. “They both had to wrestle well to win and that’s exactly what they did.”
Despite the final score, the dual was very competitive. Four Central wrestlers—125-pounder Daniel Page (junior, Tumwater, Wash.), 141-pounder Bryan Connolly (senior, Naples, Fla., Gulf Coast HS), 157-pounder Ryan Vandall (freshman, Phoenix, Ariz., Moon Valley HS) and 285-pounder Edwin Etienne (freshman, Lehigh Acres, Fla., Riverdale HS)—lost by decision.
“Bryan wrestled a nice match,” said Van Kley. “He closed the gap in the third period and almost fought all the way back. It was a strong finish.
“We just need to find a way to win more of those close matches.”
Next up for Central is a rescheduled nonconference bout against William Penn University (0-2 overall) Tuesday at Oskaloosa. The two teams were originally slated to wrestle Feb. 4, but the dual was postponed due to inclement weather. The Dutch and Statesmen last dueled in 2007.
Following Tuesday’s dual, Central will play host to Simpson College (3-13 overall, 0-7 conference) for the second time in eight days as part of the Iowa Conference dual finals.
“Next week is another big week,” Van Kley said. “We have two big duals and we’ll be ready for those. We’re a resilient team and we’ll bounce back.”