Even with a depleted lineup, the Ankeny Centennial wrestlers earned runner-up honors in the Keith Young Invitational on Saturday at Cedar Falls.
The Jaguars scored 177 points in the 16-team tournament. Dubuque Hempstead captured the crown with 184.5 points.
“Our guys wrestled much better than they did on Thursday (against Waukee),” said Centennial coach Jay Groth. “We had four starters out and if we’d had one of them, I think we’d have won the tournament.”
Cody Vandermark at 120 pounds, Lucas Bruhl at 150 and Ari Ehlts at 165 each won an individual title for the Jaguars. Vandermark and Bruhl remained unbeaten on the season.
Ehlts posted a 5-2 decision over Hempstead’s Dawson Fish in the finals. He earlier defeated Colin Falck of Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 6-3, in the semifinals.
“Ehlts is currently not ranked, but I feel like he should be,” Groth said. “There were four guys ranked in top 10 in his weight class, and he won the tournament. He beat the kid that placed fifth (in Class 3A a year ago) in the semifinals, then beat another ranked kid in the finals. He wrestled really well. But it’s like we tell our kids all the time, the rankings don’t matter. It’s what you do at the end of the season.”
Bruhl won his first two matches by fall to reach the finals. He then won by a technical fall, 18-3, over Valley’s Owen Walker.
“Lucas is super talented, and he hasn’t really been challenged yet,” Groth said. “He’s always ready to wrestle.”
Vandermark also had two falls on the day. He pinned Matthew Williams of North Scott in the finals.
Placing second for Centennial were Cale Vandermark at 113 and Danny Dhabolt at 175. Vandermark dropped a 3-2 decision to Tyler Harper of Norwalk, while Dhabolt was pinned by Nic VanArkel of Valley.
Still, it was an impressive performance by Dhabolt, who won his first three matches by fall.
“We were able to bring three extra wrestlers, and Danny was one of them,” Groth said. “He pinned his way into the finals, beating the No. 1 and 4 seeds, and ended up getting second. Coming in as a JV wrestler, I was pretty impressed by what he accomplished.”
Andrew Roland at 132 and Jack Cahill at 190 each placed third for the Jaguars. Roland posted a 4-3 decision over Hayden Helgeson of Lake Mills in the third-place match, while Cahill defeated Victor Esparza of Norwalk, 6-5.
Centennial’s Ethan Sodergren placed fifth at 126. Tyler Brennan at 144 and Jackson Anonson at 157 both finished sixth.
“The competition was good,” Groth said. “There were a lot of 3A schools, and we got to see both Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Cedar Rapids Jefferson, who will be in our district. It was a good tournament for us.”
The Jaguars will travel to Urbandale on Thursday for a CIML Conference dual meet against the J-Hawks.