Seven national top-10 team finishes
PELLA—Three pins propelled the Central College wrestling team to a 22-21 upset over No. 23 Luther College Saturday.
Central, which improved to 12-5, hadn’t won against the Norse since 1995. Luther slipped to 9-8 overall.
With a narrow 4-3 lead, junior TJ Peretti (Auburn, Wash., Mountainview HS) boosted the Dutch to a 10-3 advantage with a 5:48 pin at 141 pounds. Luther gained a decision before Joseph Atwell (senior, Jamaica, Panorama HS) scored his seventh pin of the year, a team high, in 4:06 at 157. The Norse crawled back within one at 16-15, but sophomore Tyler Lowy (Phoenix, Ariz., Thunderbird HS) flattened his opponent in 2:09 at 184 pounds to give the Dutch a 22-15 lead. Central gave up two decisions in the final matches to hang on for the win.
“Those three pins were game-changers,” coach Eric Van Kley said. “TJ, Joseph and Tyler kept scrambling and wrestled through flurries against good Luther wrestlers to come out on top. We talk a lot about attacking bonus points when they’re there and that’s what we did today.”
Sophomore Daniel Page (Yelm, Wash., Tumwater HS) snagged Central’s other win, a 10-2 major decision at 125 pounds. He improved to 22-5.
Van Kley highlighted the squad’s fight, up and down the lineup.
“It’s not always easy and it’s not always pretty, but these wrestlers have persevered all year,” he said. “This was a great win to finish the regular season. While we would have liked to win some of the other matches, it was a team effort all the way today.”
The Dutch head to Dubuque Friday for the Iowa Conference dual finals. Seeded sixth, Central faces fifth-seeded Loras College at 7 p.m. for fifth place. Coe challenges Wartburg for the title while Dubuque meets Luther in a battle for third.
The Duhawks (7-12) topped the Dutch 27-14 at Dubuque Jan. 10. Central placed sixth in the league last year, its best finish since 1995-96.