Host NJCAA Rocky Mtn. District Tourney Feb. 11
A win over Western Wyoming College in the Apodaca Dual Showdown Friday night at Cabre Gym was highlighted by a comeback decision from Trapper Cameron Braden in what NWC wrestling coach Jim Zeigler called “the most exciting match of the night.”
NWC scored a team victory over Western Wyoming by a 30-7 margin.
Zeigler was impressed by the performance of Braden, a Trapper sophomore from Moorcroft.
Heading into the second period of his match at 157 pounds, Braden was down 9-3 to Kenny Astel of Western. He erased the deficit in the second period to take a 13-9 lead and won the match by major decision 18-9.
“I tell the guys every year something will happen at this event,” said Zeigler. “There is a spirit that just fills the gym, and this match was it. He (Braden) was down, he’s battling a good kid. He just kept his head about him. He just kept fighting and plugging.”
Northwest’s Matthew Barfuss picked up a forfeit win at 125 pounds to begin the evening and the team just built from there.
At 133 pounds, Taylor Jeffries won by a 9-3 decision.
“Taylor started us off good,” said Zeigler. “He was really solid, and I think he set the tone for the night. He was just consistent pressure.”
Riley Loveless at 141 pounds wrestled solid against Lane Hunt for a 7-1 decision win.
Cutting down to the 149-pound weight class, Justin Polkowske won by decision 5-3.
“He looked good at 149; that’s sometimes an adjustment when you move down a weight,” said Zeigler. “I thought he looked really strong.”
Andrew VonRein won by major decision 9-1 at 165 pounds, and Matthew Widdicombe took a 5-1 decision at 174 pounds.
The first loss for NWC was by Jade Green at 184 pounds.
“Green is green. Green, by that, I mean not experienced enough right now,” said Zeigler. “But he gave great effort, I thought he fought hard, thought he really pushed and wrestled well.”
At 197 pounds, Trapper Jeffrey Oakes wrestled Aspen Naylor for the fifth time this season, with Naylor taking a 9-6 decision. The win gave Naylor, who’s currently ranked seventh in the nation, a 3-2 edge in the season series.
“Without sounding too harsh on Jeff (Oakes), he just didn’t really wrestle a very smart match tonight,” said Zeigler. “The effort is there; the intensity is there. Nobody works harder or tries harder than Jeff, or wants to win more than Jeff. He just couldn’t put it together tonight mentally.”
The final match of the night pitted Northwest’s Lisiate “Richard” Anau against Wade French at 285 pounds. Anau won by 9-1 major decision.
“Overall it’s a good wrestling experience. It’s a good event,” said Zeigler. He said people who don’t normally watch wrestling will come to the Apodaca Dual Showdown.
“I think it’s a just a gathering of friends and that includes our competitors. Particularly coach Art Castillo; he was a teammate to Brooks. This event means a lot to him,” said Zeigler.
Castillo has been the head coach of the Western Wyoming wrestling team for eight years and has attended the Apodaca Dual Showdown each of those years.
“I’m very honored to compete with him in this match. It makes it even more special to me that we’re wrestling with them,” Zeigler said.
The Northwest College wrestling team has this weekend off as they prepare for the NJCAA Rocky Mountain District Tournament on Feb. 11. Powell will host the tourney, which is a qualifying event for nationals.