This past weekend five Iowa Junior college teams traveled north to Worthington, Minnesota for the North Central District to qualify for the NJCAA championships. The Iowa teams finished strong as they took the top five team spots at the district in the nine team field, with #5 ranked Iowa Central nudging out #6 NIACC and #4 Ellsworth for the team title. Iowa Central outscored NIACC by 23 points, finishing with 171.5 for the team title.

1 Iowa Central CC 171.5
2 North Iowa Area College 148.5
3 Ellsworth CC 147
4 Iowa Western CC 101.5
5 Iowa Lakes CC 94.5
6 Itasca CC 79
7 Ridgewater College 47.5
8 Northland CTC 45
9 Minnesota West CTC 24

Iowa Central built their championship on the backs of their six finalists – including three champions, and a third place finisher leading the charge. #1 ranked Richie Lewis claimed the top spot at 157 with his 3-2 decision over #2 Yoanse Mejias (NIACC) in the finals. #1 Patrick Downey (197) and Chris Ballard (285) each won their title by winning by bonus the whole way. Finishing 3rd for ICCC was #3 ranked Tyler Hoffman at 184. ICCC also qualified all ten of their wrestlers for the national tournament.

Finishing second in the tournament was North Iowa Area College (NIACC) also will be advancing ten to the NJCAAs, and they brought home three finalists – two of them winning titles. Former Iowa four time state champion, and Iowa transfer Jake Marlin won the 141 bracket, picking up a fall and two decisions. #1 ranked 149 Nosomy Pozo also won a title for NIACC, winning by fall in the finals.

The top ranked Iowa Junior College team #4 Ellsworth earned their third place finish mainly on their team’s tremendous backside performances. #1 Matt Hurford (184) was the lone champion for Ellsworth, but they also got runner-up finishes from #7 ranked Matt Rodriguez-Kirkland (165) and #10 Sadarriss Patterson (174). Ellsworth also got six 3rd place finishes from #6 DeShun Brown (125), #11 Jacob Igartua (133), #3 Kevin Cooper (149), #4 Leivon Lewis (157), #6 Sharod Wilson (197), and #7 Delonte Holland (285).The biggest surprise was #2 ranked Saidyokub Kakhramanov taking 4th.

Taking home 4th was Iowa Western with led by their two champions #6 Clay Stine (133) and #12 Matt Walker (174), and 3rd place finisher #4 Tim Hester (165).

Rounding out the Iowa teams and finishing 5th was Iowa Lakes Community College, who crowned one champion and one 3rd place finisher. Taking 3rd was #1 ranked Andres Gonzalez (141) and #1 ranked Freddie Rodriguez not only brought home the 125 title, but also claimed the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler honor.

An impressive finish by the Iowa teams, taking home the top five team finishes, and also winning nine of the ten weight classes.

The NJCAA championships will be held next weekend, February 27-28th in Des Moines, Iowa.

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle

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