The night slipped away for Perry wrestling Thursday, Jan. 16 as the Bluejays hosted No. 4 Winterset and Creston, both of which handed Perry a loss.
Perry’s 0-2 team finish makes four straight times on the wrong end of the scoreboard. After the duals, Bluejays head coach Mark Weber said he’s keeping the team focused in the moment rather than looking back in hopes to draw the closest matches for everyone, from the most-devoted athletes to the more seasonal wrestlers.
“If a kids going to play to the best of their ability, that’s all I can really ask,” head coach Mark Weber said.
Against Winterset, which boasts four top-10 ranked names, Perry lost in a 48-19 bout. Of the team’s 10 losses, two lasted all three periods to help curb the score a shade.
“Telling guys to fight, wrestle every position, go out and score points rather than settle for a 2-1 match,” Weber said. “I try to keep it focused on ourselves. If we do that right, then the team score gets close.”
Creston won its affair with Perry 40-30 after one of its two ranked athletes won the final draw of the dual that created quite a theatrical finale.
Wilber Ramirez (160 pounds) kept Perry within striking range with a decision win to get to a 35-30 deficit. Meanwhile, Cole Snyder (185) brawled with No. 5 Sam Chapman on the opposite mat. A pin for Perry puts a check in the win column. Weber said while the dazzling finish looked intriguing, the math shows the loss doesn’t fall on just one person at the end.
Perry went 0-6 against ranked opponents Thursday. With No. 9 Riece Graham (106) and No. 9 Cole Nelson, (113), the Bluejays’ ranked students finished 4-0 to counter those losses, though. This also marked Graham’s return to the mat after missing the past three weeks with a shoulder injury he suffered at practice.
He’s back in the polls after slipping out for a period. A loss to any of his opponents Thursday would have pushed him down again, and against Winterset’s Travis Allen, he nearly fell despite the 19-6 margin.
While Graham had Allen on the ropes just moments away from a technical fall, Allen got the ref on the ground ready for a call only for Graham to grease away. After the match, Graham said it was an expected move and having wrestled him before, Graham knew he had an advantage to slip out.
Of the six pins Perry handed, all but one came within the first two minutes. Cole Nelson stood out most with the top two times, winning in 1:04 against Creston and 1:34 against Winterset.
Perry split its two closest matches of the night. Grappling with Winterset for all six minutes, Alan Gomez fell 3-1 against Winterset. Jacob Nelson flipped the script against Creston.
Perry’s home invitational on Saturday, Jan. 18 was cancelled because of weather. The next meet comes Thursday, Jan. 23 at home again for the annual Wrestle for a Cause. This year, the fundraiser supports junior Leonard Jacobson’s family, which has three members fighting cancer.
Weber said the team always likes to support a local cause and it doesn’t get more local than helping a teammate’s family.
“He’s deeply affected and deeply grateful,” Weber said. “Hopefully it makes our team feel good. Hope it makes the community feel good. The point is to give people a sense of giving back to those around them.”