Shandon Akeo

Central's Shandon Akeo

PELLA — The Central College wrestling team knocked off a pair of top-five wrestlers from Coe College in a 30-7 loss Thursday night.

Coe, the No. 4 team in the NWCA Division III preseason poll, was victorious in the first dual of the season for both teams.

The Dutch started the night hot with an 11-0 major decision by Shandon Akeo (senior, Honolulu, Hawaii, Kapolei HS) against Coe’s Alex Friddle. Akeo, the No. 10 wrestler in the preseason poll at 133 pounds, dropped to 125 pounds and took down the No. 4 competitor in that class.

Rob Areyano (senior, Selma, Calif.) registered a 6-2 decision at 149 pounds over Riley Wright, the No. 3 wrestler in the preseason.

“Shandon and Rob have put in a tremendous amount of work over the last six months,” coach Eric Van Kley said. “They are more committed now than they have ever been in their life. They got exactly what they deserved for the amount of hard work they have put in. They represented our program our well.”

Central dropped five of the other eight matches by decision with a lineup that featured two freshmen and two sophomores.

“I’m really proud of the overall effort,” “We gave a solid effort at all 10 weights, there’s just positions we’ve got to get better at. We’re a young team and we didn’t have a lot of matches last year and I think it showed.”

Central’s roster is headed in two directions this weekend. The varsity lineup is headed to the Scotty Wood Duals in Allentown, Pennsylvania for four matches against schools from the east coast on Saturday. The rest of the team is going to the Augsburg Invitational in Minneapolis on Saturday.

“We just need to continue to make improvements and we need to get better by Saturday,” Van Kley said.

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