Demon wrestlers take second place at Pekin Invitational
PACKWOOD — Wrestling in its first tournament of the year, Washington finished second to seventh-ranked Albia at Saturday’s Pekin Invitiational.
The Blue Demons won the nine-team tournament with 183.5 points, and the Demons were second with 173 points. Davis County, which scored 144.5 points, was a distant third.
“I figured it would come down to us and Albia,” Washington head coach Brent Van Weelden said. “In the last round we won five matches and they won seven. It was pretty close the whole time. They’re a good, solid team, and we competed with them pretty well.”
Washington crowned three individual champions on Saturday.
Junior Fletcher Green, who is ranked fifth in Class 2A at 113 pounds, was seeded second. But he won a major decision over the top seed, Cardinal’s Ryan Cale, in the finals.
“Fletcher wrestled pretty tough all day long,” Van Weelden said.
Washington junior 126-pounder Tristan Pohren won a 12-0 major decision over Albia’s Bobby Belzer in the finals.
“Last year, Tristan wrestled the same kid in the finals and only won 5-2, so there was a big difference between last year and this year in who’s improved the most,” Van Weelden said.
Sophomore 182-pounder Brad Skubal also cruised to the title, easily defeating Van Buren’s Curtis Thomas 8-1 in the finals.
“We really won all of our finals matches pretty handily,” Van Weelden said. “Those three kids were probably the best kids in the bracket that day.”
Washington senior 138-pounder Mitchell Hora and sophomore 106-pounder Michael Witt both lost in the finals and had to settle for second place. Senior 195-pounder Aaron Kempf and sophomore 152-pounder Alex Gonzalez both finished third.
Van Weelden said that wrestling against tough competition like the seventh-ranked Blue Demons showed him what his team needs to improve upon.
“It gave us a good idea of what we need to work on,” he said. “When you wrestle good kids, it lets you know what your weaknesses are and what you need to pick up and work on on Monday. So that’s what we’re going to do today.”