LINDSBORG — On Saturday, the Central Christian College wrestling team made the short 10 mile drive north to Lindsborg to compete in an invitational tournament hosted by Bethany College.
The Tigers received mixed reviews on their Saturday performance. At times they looked strong and focused, and at other times they lacked focus and made silly mistakes that cost them. One of the highlights of the event was the fact that two of the Tiger wrestlers recorded their first wins of the collegiate careers.
Devontae Fitzgerald, who was held out of last weekend's Cowboy Open up in Laramie, Wyoming, saw his first action of the year at Bethany. Wrestling in the 149 lb. weight class, Fitzgerald received an opening round bye. In the second round, he pinned his opponent, Michael Aldrich of Ottawa University, in just 35 seconds. In the quarterfinals he won his match over an unattached wrestler, Grant Sullivan, 7-4.
From there it went downhill. He lost his semifinal match to Keenan Graef of Benedictine by a fall, and then in the consolation semifinals he lost a 10-3 decision to Michael Hummer, also of Benedictine.
In the 165 lb. weight class, the Tigers entered freshman JP Krussick. Like Fitzgerald, Krussick also received a bye in the opening round. In his second round match, he won a 12-9 decision over Colton White of Bacone College, earning his first collegiate victory. In the quarters, he was pinned by Northeast Oklahoma's Wyatt Jordan, but bounced back to in his next match to defeat Courney Shavers of Bacone, pinning him in 50 seconds. His day ended at 2-2 when he lost in the next round of the consolation bracket by a technical fall to Kelton Suchy of Barton County Community College.
Also in the 165 lb. weight class was David Taylor. For Taylor, this was his first collegiate wrestling tournament. He went 0-2 on the day, losing to Courney Shavers of Bacone by a fall, and then an 11-4 decision to Austin Moyer of Hastings College. Despite the early exit, it was a valuable learning experience for him.
The Tigers' final wrestler was Mason McCarty in the 174 lb. division. McCarty had a grueling first round match against Bethany's Nicolas Desch. McCarty finally got the upper hand and also earned his first collegiate victory by pinning Desch at the 5:40 mark. In the second round, McCarty fell to KWU's Michael Metry, and then finished up the day by falling to Trent Miles of Barton.
"The Swedes Open had some tough competition and we had many of our freshmen get their first college wins,” Central coach Tom Carr said. “We also had some lapses in focus that cost us. This was a good step of building early in the season and a valuable learning experience."
Carr singled out the effort of Krussick saying, "JP has shown great improvement in his time at Central. He got his first college win of the season and then earned a pin over Courney Shaver of Bacone — the 14th ranked wrestler at 165".
Next up for the Tigers is a midweek trip on Wednesday for a dual match with the Ottawa University Braves.