Seven national top-10 team finishes
PELLA—Central College notched two victories before falling to defending NCAA Division III wrestling champion Wartburg College Thursday, 39-9.
Junior transfer Ryan Davis (Northwood, La.) won by a 5-3 decision at 149 pounds. Davis limited Wartburg’s Andrew Johnson to one point each period and improved to 4-6 on the season. Theron Stewart (junior, Marshalltown) won by forfeit at 197 pounds. He’s 3-2.
“It was great to see Ryan get a win,” coach Eric Van Kley said. “As one of our new transfers it’s the first time he’s wrestled in a dual at Central.
“It was also great to see Theron ready to take a forfeit when it was there—to make sure he was at weight and prepared,” Van Kley said.
Van Kley also cited Bryan Connolly (sophomore, Naples, Fla., Gulf Coast HS) and Tommy Van Renterghem (senior, Oskaloosa). At 133 pounds, Connolly scored three points in the final period against Wartburg all-American Tommy Mirocha, before suffering a 12-3 defeat. Van Renterghem fell 6-1, but finished strong after being held scoreless in the first period.
“Bryan wrestled hard and Tommy battled to the end after being down in the match early,” Van Kley said.
After suffering a 51-0 shut out last season, Van Kley was pleased to see some improvement.
“It’s nice to put some points on the board against Wartburg (4-1),” Van Kley said. “Obviously there are spots where they’re just more talented than us but I thought our wrestlers hustled and were aggressive and in good shape. There’s definitely some things we can build on and we won’t see a team this year any better than that one.”
Central (1-1) returns to the Milwaukee School of Engineering (Wis.) Invitational Saturday. Last year the Dutch took runner-up honors in the 11-team field, finishing 4.5 points behind champion Wis.-Oshkosh and 27 points ahead of St. Olaf (Minn.).
“Milwaukee will be a good measuring stick,” Van Kley said. “There will be 10-12 other Division III schools and they keep team points so it will be a good way to see how we do against competition that’s a little more at our level.”