A number of Perry grapplers finished off this season’s Raccoon River Conference wrestling meet with big finishes including two first place wins and one second place.
At Huxley on Jan. 27, Bluejays’ senior Zachary Thompson and junior Kaleb Olejniczak both garnered the top spot.
Teammate, senior Zach Stewart finished second, Justin Stammer (145) and Alexander Tapia (220) each placed fourth.
Fifth place finishes went to Riece Graham (106), Jacob Nelson (132), Erick Funez (160), and Daniel Brinton (170). Jered Narber (152) took the sixth spot and Jonathan Silva (182) wrestled twice.
At 120 pounds the veteran Thompson started off his day with a bye and then defeated Alex Bangs of the host Ballard Bombers with a 15-0 technical fall.
In his first place match he went up against Bryce Hatten of Winterset. The two exchanged points before Thompson pulled away for the eventual 17-7 major decision.
Joining him on the first place platform was the 126 pound Olejniczak, who like his teammate, received a bye before earning a 12-2 MD against Winterset’s Trenton Cook. Olejniczak then captured the top crown when he pinned Peter Comer of Carlisle in the second period.
The 138 pound Stewart was poised to join his teammates. He first defeated Carlisle’s Dex Hummel by pinfall in 38 seconds.
He then went the distance against Winterset’s Kruise Kiburz, eventually winning the match with a 5-3 decision before falling in the championship round to Ballard’s Jarrett Miller.
It was an all too familiar site for the Bluejays who were in action at Ballard H.S. on Thursday, Jan. 25, where they finished 1-2 at a triangular meet.
In their only win of the night the Bluejays squeaked by with a 34-32 win against fellow visitors the Greene County Rams.
The Bluejays recorded three pinfall wins, two MDs and two decision wins which culminated when the team ran off seven straight wins.
The trio of S’s, Stammer, Zach Stewart, and Jeb Stewart (132) were responsible for the squad’s three pins. Thompson and Olejniczak scored 16-1 and 18-2 TFs, and the Funez brothers Erick and Brian (152) had decision wins of 10-9 for the former and 8-4 for Erick.
In their two losses the Bluejays were outscored 51-25 against the host and suffered a 53-24 defeat versus Humboldt.
The Bluejays head coach Mark Weber has his team focusing on their upcoming district matches where he feels his team has a great chance to perform well.
“The mindset is to get them to feel as best as possible physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually,” he said. “We have a few weeks now until districts so we can train hard for a week and then taper up to districts.”
Things are pretty much staying the same for the team and the coach who will continue to work with his team to not only improve their chances moving forward but also jeep them level headed.
“We want them to feel the best they have ever felt at districts so that they can feel as confident as possible,” Weber added. “ We will continue to improve each day in practice…making our weaknesses our strengths, and more importantly, our strengths stronger. The post-season is the most important part of the season, so every match counts.”