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Four Trappers in top 3 at tournament

NWC 1-1 in Friday wrestling duals

The Northwest College wrestling team claimed one championship and contended for several more at the University of Great Falls Open in Great Falls, Mont., Saturday.

The team split two Friday duals, beating Dickinson State 27-10 and losing to McKendree University 28-10.

Head coach Jim Zeigler said his team showed improvement from Friday to Saturday, making it a positive weekend.

“I thought it was very successful in what we were trying to accomplish,” Zeigler said. “We were getting better through the week, and each day, each match, we were getting better and stronger.”

Sophomore Zac Loveless went 4-0 and claimed Northwest’s lone title in the 141-pound class at the Open.

Loveless scored two pins (including in the final bout), a major decision and a decision on his way to the title.

Sophomore Cody Vichi (125 pounds) took second place, and sophomores Diorian Coleman (165) and Ben Jorgensen (133) took third in their weight classes.

Vichi won three straight matches before losing a 6-4 decision in the title bout. Vichi used two pins sandwiched around a 9-2 decision to advance to the finals.

Coleman won his first match by a 20-6 major decision but was ousted by a 2-1 decision in the semifinals. Once in the consolation bracket Coleman won by fall and then took the third-place bout 8-5.

Like Coleman, Jorgensen won his first bout (by fall at 2:05) but dropped his second-round match and was moved to the consolation bracket.

Jorgensen had to get through a pair of teammates to make it to the third-place match. He beat Felipe Contreras 2-1 and then Brenden Turner by way of fall. The latter win may give Jorgensen the inside track to the varsity spot at 133.

Another pin advanced Jorgensen to the consolation finals, where he took fourth.

Zeigler said he just steps back and watches when teammates compete in tournaments.

“I just let them wrestle,” the coach said. “They don’t have any coaching, they just wrestle each other.”

Freshman Hayden Heap (149), Cole McArthur (174) and Miles Nixon (184) each took fourth place at the open. Each Trapper lost in the semifinals to their division’s eventual champion.

Heap won two bouts by decision and advanced to the semifinals before a 16-0 technical fall sent him to the consolation bracket. Heap lost in the third-place match 9-3.

McArthur also vied for a spot in the finals but lost a 6-3 decision in the semis. McArthur moved into the third-place bout thanks to a 6-0 win but then lost 4-2 to claim fourth.

Nixon won by a fall 3:32 into his quarterfinal match before losing 13-8 in the semis. He won big over teammate Braden Gibson 12-0 to advance to the third-place match.

Jonathan Wixom (197 pounds) was ill and did not compete over the weekend.

Coleman and Loveless each avenged losses by beating the pair of McKendree wrestlers who had bested them the day before.

McKendree University is the 17th-ranked school in NCAA Division II, and only two Trappers were able to walk away from that dual victorious.

Vichi won 12-0 over Jose Torres, and Zac Loveless pinned DaMonte Riley at 4:42.

Coleman and freshman Jeff McCormick (who did not wrestle Saturday) each lost bouts Zeigler said they could have won. Coleman dropped an 8-6 decision to Nick Haferkamp, and McCormick lost 8-3 to Josh Ballard.

“I thought we could have won four, pretty easily, against them,” Zeigler said.

The Trappers fared better against Dickinson State later on Friday, going 8-2 and winning the dual by 17 points.

Vichi won 16-0 over Cade Coles. Turner won 13-11 over Matt Chambers. Zac Loveless beat Seth Ehlang 8-1. Cormick Eaton bested Sean Elkins 17-7. McCormick beat Devan Williams 9-3. Coleman shut out Jon Solano 2-0. McArthur beat Tyler Brown 7-6. Nixon won over Skyler Carroll 7-0.

Zeigler said the in-team competition is heating up at the 149-pound class.

Heap, Eaton and Kaelen Loveless each wrestled this weekend, and each is in the mix for the varsity spot.

“I’m really trying to create a competitive situation for the varsity spot there,” Zeigler said. “No one has really dominated the spot there.”

The Trappers will face elite junior college competition this weekend in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where they will face No. 1 North Idaho and No. 4 Clackamas Community College, as well as Southwest Oregon.

“It’s a great opportunity to set a tone and see where we’re at,” Zeigler said.

North Idaho is the defending national champion and appears to have a team capable of defending its title.

Zeigler said the Cardinals “almost always have a mature team,” due to liberal use of redshirting.

While the No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup will likely draw the most attention, Clackamas is not to be overlooked.

“We cannot ignore Clackamas, because they are every bit as good as North Idaho, if not better,” Zeigler said. “They are always a highly, highly talented team.”

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