Dutch wrestlers lose tight Iowa Conference opener
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Central College wrestling team gave No. 11 Coe College all it could handle Thursday night, but came up short in the upset bid, falling 19-18.
The Dutch (0-1, 0-1 conf.) and Kohawks (1-0, 1-0 conf.) were tied 18-18 after the completion of all 10 matches. The match went to the third tie-breaking criteria of total points scored not including falls or forfeits, where Coe had outpaced Central 44-42, to break the tie and give Coe the win.
Central competed Thursday night without returning All-American and third-ranked Matt Seabold (junior, Burlington) at 197 pounds, who was out for medical reasons.
Three straight wins to start the match catapulted Central to a 12-0 lead. CJ Pestano (sophomore, Torrance, Calif.) and Aaron Anderson (senior, Clarion, Iowa, Clarion-Goldfield HS) got it started with decisions at 125 pounds and 133 pounds, respectively. Sophomore Jahleel Vester (Oak Harbor, Wash.) punctuated the 12-0 run with a second period fall.
“If you’re going to compete with a team like Coe, you have to set the tempo early,” coach Eric Van Kley said. “Those three established an intensity level that we really needed as team in order to give ourselves a chance to win”
Vester took over as the starter at 141 as a freshman in 2014-15 and emerged once again from a crowded field this season.
“I think that Jahleel just had to figure out how could he could be, “ Van Kley said. “He’s realizing he can be pretty special. He’s just got to continue to commit to the process and making improvements.”
Central needed dramatic wins on the back end to stay in the match. At 184, freshman Austin Laabs (Guthrie Center) won 3-1 in overtime to keep the Dutch alive. Senior Jay Pike (Solon) followed that up by scoring a takedown with less than 10 seconds left in a 3-1 win.
“I think both of those guys are great examples of mental toughness and staying the course,’ Van Kley said. “Both of those matches were grinding and challenging matches. Austin and Jay kept a good head on the shoulders and won tough matches. I’m proud of their effort.”
The Dutch nearly pulled off their first road win against the Kohawks since 1990, but fell to the third tie-breaking criteria.
“Bottom line, every guy in our program is disappointed that we didn’t get the job done,” Van Kley said. “Our guys expect to be able to compete in those kind of environments. Our guys showed that they’re capable of it tonight.”
The Dutch have a short turnaround, as they hit the road to compete at the Augsburg Adidas Open in Minneapolis Saturday.
“We’ve got to get better,” Van Kley said. “They’re were a lot of opportunities tonight that we didn’t capitalize on. The great thing about our schedule is that we’re on our bus (Friday) at noon and we get another chance to compete. I think we’ve got a lot guys that like competing in big matches.”
Story provided by Joe Flaherty