DUBUQUE — Squaring off against a pair of top-15 programs, the Central College wrestling team dropped its final two American Rivers Conference matches of the season Sunday afternoon.
The Dutch (5-3, 5-3 conference) fell 38-3 against No. 14 Coe College and 37-3 against No. 9 Loras College.
“Today was not a great day for us,” coach Eric Van Kley said. “We wrestled flat and were not on our offense. We just weren’t very aggressive. It’s on us as coaches and as a team to persevere and get better.”
Despite the losses, Central secured a fourth-place finish in the American Rivers Conference with only two seniors in the starting lineup.
“Year in and year out, the American Rivers Conference is the best conference in the country for wrestling,” Van Kley said. “It’s something to feel good about to have a young team like ours finishing fourth out of nine teams.”
Luis Ramos (sophomore, 141 pounds, Selma, Calif.) earned all six of Central’s team points by securing decisions in both matches. Ramos transferred to Central in January and led the team with a 7-1 record.
“He’s been a huge addition to our team and has fit in extremely well,” Van Kley said. “He showed a lot of poise today and really controlled both matches. I thought he had his best performance of the season today.”
While the regular season has concluded, there is potential for one more competition. The NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships were already canceled but the National Wrestling Coaches Association is vying to host its own championship meet in Coralville, Iowa March 12 and 13.
“For everything they’ve sacrificed and committed to this season, I’m unbelievably proud of this team,” Van Kley said. “I’m hoping for one more opportunity to wrestle in a couple of weeks.”