Peyton Hammerich

Central's Peyton Hammerich

STEVENS POINT, Wis. — A trio of top-three finishes highlighted the opening weekend of the Central College wrestling season at the Pointer Open Saturday.

Team scores were not kept in the 12-team invitational hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

“I thought it was a really good start of the season,” coach Eric Van Kley said. “We wrestled hard and competed well, which was what we’re looking for. We’ve got plenty of areas to improve.”

Peyton Hammerich (senior, Princeton, Ill.) pinned his first two opponents in the first period and then won a pair of tight decisions to reach the 184-pound final. He lost in the final to Reece Worachek, the No. 3 wrestler in NCAA Division II from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. At 133 pounds, Brock Beck (junior, Grinnell) started 3-0 to also advance to the title match. He lost to the preseason No. 1 wrestler, Robbie Precin of North Central College (Ill.).

“We knew it was going to be a tough tournament,” Van Kley said. “We wanted that competition and both competed hard. Matches like those teach you what you need to work on.”

Gage Linahon (junior, Newton) went 4-1 on the day at 197 pounds, winning by major decision twice and a technical fall once. His only loss was in the semifinal to the preseason No. 1 wrestler in Division III, Beau Yineman of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

“That was a bit of a deceiving match,” Van Kley said. “We got pinned but it was a 2-2 match in the second period. At the same time, we still need to improve and get better.”

Freshmen Pierre Baldwin (Carol Stream, Ill., West Chicago HS) and Sam West (Burlington, Notre Dame HS) were sixth-place winners in their collegiate debuts, Baldwin at 141 points and West at 174 pounds.

“Pierre started 2-0,” Van Kley said. “We decided to be careful after a small tweak but I thought it was a really good start to his career.”

Rheiner Stahlbaum (sophomore, 125 pounds, Johnston) and Colby Tool (sophomore, Reasnor, PCM HS) both lost early matches but rebounded to reach the consolation finals. Stahlbaum won four matches and Tool won three.

Central travels to the Millikin Open on Nov. 12.

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