By: The Messenger Sports Staff
IOWA FALLS — The short-handed Iowa Central wrestling team went head-to-head with top-ranked (NJCAA) Ellsworth here on Wednesday in their season debut, eventually dropping a 23-19 decision to the Panthers.
No. 4 Iowa Central, the defending national champion, won six of the nine matches on the slate. But a last-minute forfeit at 165 pounds created a domino effect in the lineup, and the six bonus points surrendered at that weight proved to be too much for Luke Moffitt's squad to overcome.
"We were scrambling a little, but to the credit of our guys, they won three of the four matches where we had (a wrestler bump up a weight)," Moffitt said. "It was great to see us take the majority of the (head-to-heads), but they scored more bonus points than we did, and along with the forfeit, that wound up being the difference."
Fort Dodge Senior High graduate Jonah Egli was one of the Triton grapplers who went up a weight. After weighing in at 174, Egli upset fifth-ranked Anthony Collins at 184 by decision.
"Jonah was just huge for us," Moffitt said. "You never really know how guys are going to react to getting bumped up — whether you're making the right decision as a staff or not. But Jonah was ready, and you could see Collins get tired as the match went on.
"By the end of it, Jonah was in complete control. This was a big win for him and for us."
The Tritons are in action on Saturday at the Grand View Open in Des Moines. Their first home dual of the season is on Wednesday against Iowa Lakes.