DECATUR, ILL. — The first trip to the Millikin Open for the Central College wrestling team saw the Dutch pick up three bracket champions, matching the total from the first meet last weekend.
C.J. Pestano (125 pounds, senior, Torrance, Calif.) and Cam Timok (133 pounds, junior, Glen Allen, Va., Hermitage HS) both snagged their second title of the season while Nathan Fritz (174 pounds, sophomore, Sigourney) won his first.
No team scores were kept in the 11-team invitational.
Getting his first action of the season, Fritz impressed with a 4-0 day and two technical falls and a pin. He won the championship bout with a 12-5 win over Trace Timmons of Augustana College (Ill.).
“He looked sharp in all of his matches,” coach Eric Van Kley said. “We’ve always expected big things from him because he had some great opportunities last year and showed a lot.”
Pestano and Timok each maintained their unbeaten seasons after winning first place in their respective weight classes. Timok (5-0) and Pestano (3-0) each won their final matches with first-period falls.
“Cam dominated from start to finish,” Van Kley said. “He really controlled every match from the beginning. C.J. was down 6-0 and on his back in the first match. He ended up pinning the guy but it was good to see him challenged. He responded with the heart of a champion.”
At 157 pounds, Collin Groleau (sophomore, Peru, Ill., LaSalle-Peru Township HS) advanced to the title bout after three wins and finished in second place. Central earned three more third-place finishes from Jeremy Vester (165 pounds, junior, Oak Harbor, Wash.), Wayne Sommerlot (184 pounds, Pocahontas, Pocahontas Area HS) and Duncan Lee (197 pounds, sophomore, Newton).
Showing balance throughout the lineup, Central had top-five finishers in nine of 10 weight classes. A fourth-place finish from Jahleel Vester (141 pounds, senior, Oak Harbor, Wash.) and a fifth-place finish by Jordan Challen (149 pounds, junior, Jefferson, Greene County HS)completed that feat for the Dutch.
“Depth and overall toughness is so unbelievable important in our program,” Van Kley said. “I give the team a lot of credit. We made a lot of improvement since last week.”
The dual season kicks off Thursday on the road at Coe College, the preseason No. 14 team in the nation. Central was slotted at No. 15.
“We’re excited,” he said. “We love wrestling Coe; we’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for them. It’s going to be a hard, contested dual up at their place. It’s a big challenge, but our team is excited for the opportunity.”
The match against the Kohawks is set for 7 p.m. in Cedar Rapids on the campus of Coe College.