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February 17, 2009 3:49 am

Six Trappers qualify for national tourney

Written by Tribune Staff

NWC finishes third in West Central Zone Championship

The Northwest College Trappers notched a third-place finish in the team standings and had six wrestlers qualify for the NJCAA National Championships during last Saturday's West Central Zone Championships in Parsons, Kan.

NWC finished the event with 63.5 points, which put them behind first-place Colby Community College (99.5 points) and Labette Community College (85).
In the individual standings, the Trappers had two wrestlers earn championships — Saul Guerrero and Landon Harris.

Guerrero, a freshman from Ft. Lupton, Colo., claimed his first-place finish in the 133-pound weight class. Guerrero opened the event with a 3-1 decision over Labette's Donnie Curtis. He then defeated Rory Kendall 11-3 in the finals.

Harris' first-place effort came in the heavyweight division, where he recorded a 2-0 mark. In his first bout, Harris recorded a pin at the 1:52 mark against Western Wyoming Community College's Rusty Farnsworth.

Harris, a freshman from Rexburg, Idaho, then followed with a pin at 1:20 during his matchup in the finals against Ben Hohensee. For his efforts, NWC head coach Jim Zeigler said Harris was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler.

“We didn't start out real well in the first round, but when we got to the finals, the guys that were still in the hunt wrestled well,” Zeigler said. “We also had a good showing in the semifinals.”

In addition to a pair of title winners, the Trappers had three wrestlers earn runner-up finishes. Among those was Mak Jones, a freshman from Powell. Against opponents from Neosho Community College and Pratt Community College, Jones posted victories of 13-0 and 3-1, respectively. His only loss, a 3-2 setback, came in the finals against Labette's Derek Thompson.

“Mak was doing really well against him,” Zeigler said. “He missed some scoring opportunities, but he looked to be the better wrestler of the two. One little slip cost him, though, and their guy was able to get the win.”

Other runner-up placers for NWC included freshman McCade Ford at 141 and sophomore Anthony Varnell at 149.

Ford won his first bout against sophomore Derek Ward of Labette by a 7-2 score, and followed with a 7-3 loss to a wrestler from Colby in the finals. Varnell opened with a pair of victories, 4-1 and 3-1 (OT), in bouts with competitors from Pratt and Western Wyoming, but took an injury default in the finals to finish second.

NWC's third-place finisher was Briston Brenton, a freshman from Casper. He suffered a first-round pin, but rebounded to win his final two matches of the event at 157.

Prior to the West Central Zone Championships, Zeigler said his team's goal was to land at least six berths in the NJCAA National Championships, which will be conducted Feb. 27-28 in Rochester, Minn.

“We didn't have any guys finish high enough to get wild-card spots, but we were still pleased to get six guys in,” Zeigler said. “We had some guys finish fifth, but only fourth-place finishers got the wild-card spots.”

Final Team Standings

1. Colby (99.5 points)
2. Labette (85)
3. Northwest (63.5)
4. Neosho (38)
5. Pratt (30.5)
6. Western Wyoming (19)