ROCHESTER, Minn. – Justin Pearch scored North Idaho College’s best finish at the NJCAA national wrestling championships at the Mayo Civic Center with a second place Saturday night as the Cardinals were runners-up in the team standings.
Pearch, a 141-pounder, lost to Zach Flake of Lassen 4-3 in the finale.
“Justin scored a great takedown with 30 seconds left to tie the match,” said NIC coach Pat Whitcomb. “He then gave his opponent an escape on purpose to go for the win, but couldn’t score on it.”
Despite taking the team lead after the first day, the Cardinals couldn’t hold on, as Labette (Kan.) took the team championship with 108 points to 99 for NIC. Both teams were handily ahead of third place Ridgewater’s 76½ points.
NIC’s Josh Edmondson (184) bounced back after a second-round loss to finish the tournament with six consecutive wins to grab third place.
Kyle Frawley (174) began the tournament with three wins, but fell to Mike Casperson of Western Wyoming in the semifinals. He finished fourth after a loss in the third-place match.
Jeff Hedges (125) decisioned Dennis Karkah of Harper 9-5 in the fifth round of the consolation bracket, but lost in the semifinals. A 9-4 win over Corey Bowers of Mercyhurst Northeast earned him fifth place.
Cody Nicholson (133) and Derek Kipperberg (149) finished sixth in their respective weight classes.
“I’m proud of all the guys,” Whitcomb said. “Sometimes a team is gauged by championships. If a second-place finish is disappointing, the program is in good shape.”
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