Saturday wasn’t a great day for the Ankeny Centennial wrestlers.
The Jaguars tied for eighth place among 20 teams in the prestigious Ed Winger Invitational at Urbandale. They finished with 87 points, equaling the total amassed by a Valley squad that Centennial defeated earlier this month, 51-24.
“I’d probably give us about a C,” said Centennial coach Jay Groth. “I thought we wrestled pretty average today, and average is not what we’re looking for as we get close to the postseason. We need to step up our game.”
Third-ranked Waukee won the tournament with 217.5 points. No. 2 Southeast Polk, the defending champion, was second with 212.
No. 5 Bettendorf, No. 8 North Scott and No. 10 Norwalk rounded out the top five teams.
“It was a good tournament, especially this year without the CIML, so it’s one of the premier tournaments,” Groth said. “We just need to keep working hard to climb up the ladder to be with those (top) teams.”
The Jaguars got fourth-place finishes from Cael Wiener at 113 pounds and No. 6 Carter Cahill at 160. Drew Dunn at 132 and Jackie Wells at 195 each placed fifth.
Cahill dropped a 6-5 decision to No. 7 Caden Schmidt of Norwalk in the third-place match. He is now 23-6 on the season.
“Carter lost to a kid he beat up at Marshalltown a couple weeks ago, so that was disappointing,” Groth said. “But (Schmidt) is a good wrestler.”
Wiener lost in the quarterfinals to No. 1 Nate Jesuroga of Southeast Polk–the eventual champion–but rebounded to win his next two matches. He then dropped a 15-7 major decision to No. 5 Koufax Christensen of Waukee in the third-place match.
Wiener’s record is now 13-8.
“I didn’t tell Cael he was going to wrestle 113 until Thursday,” Groth said. “He got down to weight and wrestled pretty well. He’s capable of finishing higher, but he didn’t have a lot of time to prepare.”
Dunn posted a 15-5 major decision over fourth-seeded Ben Smith of ADM in the opening round. He was pinned by Underwood’s Niles Sollazzo in the quarterfinals, but later pinned Sollazzo in a rematch for fifth place.
“Drew had a pretty good day,” Groth said.
Wells dropped down from 220 to compete at 195. He pinned William Scott of Johnston in 59 seconds in the fifth-place match.
Placing eighth for the Jaguars were Payton Bright at 106, Carter Bennett at 145 and Owen Vernon at 152.
“We saw some teams that we’ll see at the district tournament, and I’m not sure we stepped up to the challenge today,” Groth said. “As always, we’ve got more work to do.”
Centennial was without two of its best wrestlers. No. 2 Lucas Bruhl at 113 and No. 5 Jackson Helmkamp at 138 were both out due to illness.
“Our kids knew we weren’t at full strength,” Groth said. “They maybe thought we weren’t going to do very well, but we’ve still got to go out and wrestle with the guys that we have.”
Girls’ state tournament
Centennial also competed in the girls’ state tournament, where junior Grace Gray earned a third-place finish by pinning her opponent in just 18 seconds. She finished the season with a 14-1 record.
“Grace had a good year,” Groth said. “Last year she finished sixth, and her only loss this year was to the eventual champion.”
Dana Cleveland, Olivia Foddrill and Avery Grim also competed for the Jaguars.