ROCHESTER, Minn. – North Idaho College is a distant second after the first day of the NJCAA National Wrestling Championships.
Top-ranked Iowa Central Community College (Fort Dodge, Iowa) appears headed for its fourth straight NJCAA team championship after advancing eight of its 10 competitors to the semifinal round.
Among scholarship-division teams, Iowa Central leads with 93 team points, while North Idaho has 60 and Labette Community College (Parsons, Kan.) is third with 59.
North Idaho qualified three of its wrestlers for the semifinals: Tim McGoldrick at 141 pounds, Celic Bell at 174 pounds and Rudi Burtschi at 197 pounds.
“Obviously, we had higher expectations,” NIC coach Pat Whitcomb said. “With a couple of breaks we thought we could place everyone. But that just doesn’t happen at nationals.”
Whitcomb was pleased with how the day ended. Kamron Jackson and Spencer Sharp both stayed alive in the 184- and 285-pound divisions, respectively. Jackson and Sharp are guaranteed top-eight finishes, and join McGoldrick, Bell and Burtschi as All-Americans.
“There’s a big difference between having three All-Americans and having five All-Americans,” he said.
McGoldrick and Bell breezed through three matches. After a first-round bye, McGoldrick pinned his next two opponents in less than two minutes total. Bell also recorded two pins after an opening bye. Burtschi dispatched his opponents by 13-1 and 8-3 decisions.
Jackson and Sharp both rebounded from quarterfinal losses. In Sharp’s case, he was pinned in his second match but came back to decision Corey Anderson of Lincoln College (Lincoln, Ill.) 5-0 in wrestlebacks.
North Idaho wrestlers who were eliminated included Trevor Powell at 125 pounds, Lester Brown at 133 pounds and Lucas Chesher at 157 pounds.
Powell was leading in his opening match but wound up getting pinned. Brown tried to go on an injured ankle, but was pinned in both his matches. Chesher opened with a victory, but then dropped tough 5-3 and 10-8 decisions.
“The guys who lost, I’m disappointed for them, but I’m definitely not disappointed in them,” Whitcomb said.
The NJCAA championships conclude today. Complete results are available at www.rochsports.com.