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Auburn Mountainview grad Peretti wraps up collegiate wrestling career
The highlight came just a few matches into wrestler Tyler Peretti's senior season at Central College in Pella, Iowa.
With two wins by major decision already under his belt at the NCAA Division III Tournament at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, the 149-pound Peretti needed just one more win to punch his ticket to the division title match.
"In high school, if you hadn't heard of a wrestler, there was a pretty good chance you were going to beat them," said Peretti, a 2010 Auburn Mountainview graduate. "In college, you just never knew how good they were going to be."
So, Peretti said, he knew he had his hands full as he locked up with his opponent, Greg Sanders from Concordia University-Wisconsin.
After dueling to a 0-0 regulation finish, the pair went to overtime, during which neither grappler was able to gain an advantage, again finishing 0-0.
In double overtime, Peretti and Sanders notched escapes, putting the score at 1-1, forcing an extra overtime period.
"I clinched it after wrestling for about 12 minutes (with a 3-2 decision)," Peretti said. "I was pumped and ran off with my adrenaline just rushing. Our coach had a rule that we had to run sprints after matches. I was in the hallway running when one of the assistant coaches came up and told me I had just knocked off the defending national champion."
Although the upset is foremost among Peretti's wrestling memories, it's just one of many he garnered over more than 10 years of competitive wrestling.
In his senior year as a prep athlete, Peretti led the Auburn Mountainview program, winning the 130-pound title in 2010 in his second straight Mat Classic state 3A appearance.
At first, Peretti said, he didn't know what to do after high school, although he was considering attending and wrestling at several Northwest colleges, including Highline College, Simon Fraser University in Canada and Oregon's Clackamas Community College.
"I didn't make a decision until June, right before high school graduation," Peretti said.
Instead of remaining close to home, however, the appeal of a little college in Iowa was too great for him to ignore.
"On my visit they had nice facilities," Peretti said of Central College. "They had just hired a new coach (Eric Van Kley) before I got here. He turned the program around. They had a tradition in the past of being excellent, but it was going downhill."
During Peretti's time as a member of the Dutch wrestling program, the team qualified at least one wrestler to the national tourney each year.
"I could tell [the coach] was doing great things," Peretti said, "and the fact that it was a small college, and there would be more opportunities to get help if I needed it helped."
During his freshman year, Peretti said, two things became apparent immediately.
First was the step up in competition from prep high school.
"I had national exposure as a high-schooler, so I expected a big step coming in," he said. "Going from being a Washington state title winner to out here, I realized very early on you had to take every opponent serious."
Second, Peretti learned that in Iowa, wrestling is a big deal, a very big deal.
"I got to go the Iowa state high school tournament, and every wrestler should experience that," he said. "My roommate at Central my junior year was from Iowa. When he went to state, everyone from his town came to watch him wrestle. They canceled school for two days so they could come and watch him. It was just a great experience."
Peretti didn't start his freshman year but he cracked the roster as a 141-pound sophomore and earned the team's Most Improved Award that year.
As a junior, he again competed at 141, stringing together a 16-9 record with three pins and five major decisions.
His senior year he jumped up to 149 pounds, and, as a team captain, went 23-11.
Peretti graduated from Central with a bachelor's degree in political science and finished his collegiate career with a 70-40 record.
Although many wrestlers want to compete for as long as they can, Peretti welcomes a new challenge — getting a job and moving on with his life.
"No matter what, I'm going to miss wresting and being a part of those teams. I've loved all of them," he said. "But I was ready for it. Personally, I put in all the effort I could, 110 percent, and did all the little things. So, I was kind of ready for the next step of my life. And finding a job is the next step."
Although his priority is to get started with his career, Peretti said, coaching wrestling in the future is a possibility.
"I definitely want to coach in the future, just not the immediate future," he said.