Seven national top-10 team finishes
PELLA—With more than half of the starting lineup out of action, the Central College wrestling team showed its depth and placed six at the Central Invitational Saturday.
The non-scored tournament featured 10 teams and more than 140 wrestlers in H.S. Kuyper Fieldhouse.
"It was a really great effort overall by our wrestlers and it was fun to see some new faces step up," coach Eric Van Kley said.
Senior Zach Beekman (Pocahontas) had Central's top finish, taking second at 157 pounds. He won by decision and two falls to advance to the title match where he fell to top-seeded Dallas Houchins of Grand View by decision, 7-4. Beekman improves to 8-5 on the season.
“This is by far and away Zach’s favorite tournament and he wrestles great here every year,” Van Kley said. “We couldn’t be prouder of him to make the finals and have a great battle. It’s the culmination of four years of hard work and it’s fun to see him have a highlight day like that.”
TJ Peretti (sophomore, Auburn, Wash., Mountainview HS) had an encouraging third-place finish at 141 in his first event back from an injury. Seeded fifth, Peretti went 4-1, knocking off the fourth seed before winning third place by decision over the seventh seed.
“We’re real excited to have TJ back and healthy,” Van Kley said. “He really had a great day and is going to keep getting better each week as he works himself back into shape.”
Placing third at 165 pounds, Colten Moore (junior, West Burlington) entered the day with a 9-8 record and went 5-1, recording three falls and two major decisions.
“He also had an outstanding day,” Van Kley said.
At 197 pounds, Theron Stewart (junior, Marshalltown) took third place while Dan Gordon (senior, Anchorage, Alaska, Diamond HS) finished fourth. Stewart had a 3-1 day with two decisions and a fall, improving to 15-6. Gordon, entering with a 9-8 record and competing as the fifth seed, topped the No. 4 and 3 seeds by pin and decision, respectively to go 2-2.
“I was very happy at 197,” Van Kley said. “That’s the answer we’re looking for. Good depth at all the weights.”
Also pleasing was a fourth-place effort from Brandon Burrell (junior, Cedar Rapids, Washington HS) at 285. He was 3-1 in just his second outing of the season.
“Burrell stepped up as our heavyweight representative today,” Van Kley said. “He really was aggressive and got after it and got some big, hard-fought matches.”
Central returns to the mat Saturday for the Wabash College (Ind.) Max Servies Duals at Crawfordsville, Ind. Pairings have not yet been announced.
“We kind of shift gears, going from an individual tournament back to duals,” Van Kley said. “It’ll be a very, very competitive tournament. We’re going to take this week to figure out our best lineup and utilize the depth we showed today to go down there and have a great effort.”