The Northwest College wrestling team traveled to Great Falls, Montana, to compete in the Argo Duals on Friday, where the team went 1-2. On Saturday, the Trappers competed amongst 23 teams in the Heritage Inn Open, with sophomore Taylor Jefferies finishing third in the 133-pound weight class.
“The kids worked hard, I think they’re getting better,” said head coach Jim Zeigler. “I think they are recognizing some things and wanting to get more competitive.”
The Trappers competed in three duals at the Argo Duals at the University of Providence (formerly the University of Great Falls), winning one and losing two.
Zeigler said that, considering the team had to forfeit two weight classes which equates to giving away 12 points in each dual, NWC did OK.
The first dual was against Northwest Kansas Technical College, where NWC lost 24-21.
Lisiate Anau — who is ranked second in the nation in the 285-pound weight class — met up with No. 1-ranked Odgerek Batkhishig. Anau lost 3-2.
“It was a good match,” Zeigler said.
The second match was against Montana State University - Northern. Zeigler said the team didn’t wrestle very well in this dual, with Nodir Safarov and Anua the only Trappers to win their matches.
Safarov is currently ranked second in the nation at 125 pounds.
The third dual of the Argo Duals was against Eastern Oregon University. NWC jumped out to a 24-0 lead with wins from Safarov, Jefferies, Palmer Schafer, Nic Urbach of Powell and Tate Allison.
Logan Soundrup and Jeff Oakes both got pinned and, after NWC forfeited the 174- and 184-pound weight classes, the dual was tied at 24 going into the final match.
Anau got a pin to win the dual 30-24 for the Trappers.
Heritage Inn Open
At Saturday’s Heritage Inn Open, also in Great Falls, “the kids wrestled OK in the tournament,” Zeigler said. “I’m seeing some improvement.”
Jefferies, a sophomore from Gillette, took third at the tournament in the 133-pound weight class.
“He was a warrior on Saturday,” Zeigler said. “I was really proud of him.”
Jefferies won his first match by a 15-5 major decision and pinned his second opponent to advance to the semi-final match. Jefferies then lost by a 5-2 decision to Naquan Hardy of McKendree to drop down in the consolation semi-finals match.
In the consolation semi-finals, Jefferies won by a pin to advance to the third/fourth place match. There, he won the third place match by a 5-3 decision over Blake McNall of Eastern Oregon University.
“He just seemed to bring back that Campbell County competitive edge,” Zeigler said of the Gillette wrestler. “[Jeffries] just seemed hungry on Saturday. He looked good, he wrestled hard, he fought for everything, he didn’t hold back.”
Jefferies came back from the tournament with a black eye and mat burns on his face, and Zeigler also called him the performer of the day. Jefferies is currently ranked seventh in the nation.
Jeff Oakes, who wrestles at 197 pounds and is currently third in the nation, competed in what Zeigler described as a “really tough weight.” He went 2-2-0 at the tournament.
Anau placed sixth in the 285-pound weight class, where his four wins were by pin.
Zeigler said his wrestlers “are starting to realize some things that they need to do to get better in terms of their commitment level, their training, their focus, their discipline — all those things we talked about — it just takes awhile for that sink in.”
Zeigler went on to say that once a wrestler gets “enough losses under your belt,” they start to open their eyes and ears and start listening.
“Then when you start listening, you start discovering, and when you start discovering you start making some progress — and just a tiny bit of progress — and then it opens you up and you start moving in the right direction,” Zeigler said. “That’s what I feel like: We’ve got a tiny bit of progress, but I feel like it’s created some enthusiasm.”
Next up for the Trapper wrestling team is to travel to Miami, Oklahoma, on Friday to face off against Labette Community College at 5 p.m. At 7 p.m., NWC will wrestle against Northeastern Oklahoma College, the No. 2-ranked team in the nation. The Trappers are currently ranked sixth in the nation as a team.