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Northwest's Safarov takes championship at Cowboy Open

NWC Trappers wrestler Nodir Safarov is pictured here with the flag of his native Uzbekistan. Safarov opened his 2017-2018 wrestling season in a big way, winning the 125-pound elite class title at last weekend’s Cowboy Open in Laramie. The Trappers finished eighth out of 20 teams in the event. NWC Trappers wrestler Nodir Safarov is pictured here with the flag of his native Uzbekistan. Safarov opened his 2017-2018 wrestling season in a big way, winning the 125-pound elite class title at last weekend’s Cowboy Open in Laramie. The Trappers finished eighth out of 20 teams in the event. Photo courtesy Amanda Enriquez

Northwest College’s wrestling team took eighth place among 20 teams at Saturday’s Cowboy Open in Laramie.

Trapper Nodir Safarov claimed the championship title in the elite bracket in the 125-pound weight class.

The Cowboy Open features two brackets of competition, an elite and an amateur. Safarov was the Trappers’ sole wrestler to compete in the elite bracket.

“Nodir [Safarov] is an elite wrestler. He’s phenomenal. He just walked through the tournament,” said NWC head coach Jim Zeigler.

In the first round, Safarov went up against Cody Salazar of Northern Colorado and won by a 15-7 major decision. The win pitted Safarov in the quarterfinals against an unattached wrestler, where Safarov won by 22-7 technical fall.

In the semi-finals, Safarov beat Anthony DeCesare of Air Force in an 11-3 major decision.

The championship match was won by a 6-3 decision over Trent Olson of the University of Wyoming. Zeigler said that, despite challenging opponents, not a single offensive point was scored against Safarov.

The other Trappers who wrestled at the Cowboy Open competed in the amateur bracket.

Sophomore Taylor Jeffries grappled in the 133-pound weight class, winning three matches and losing two with one bye. The three wins were over wrestlers from Northwest Kansas Technical College, Western Wyoming College and Central Christian College of Kansas. Jefferies’ last match, in the fifth round of consolation, was lost by a pin in the sudden victory round.

Nic Urbach of Powell wrestled at 149 pounds. In his first match against Tyler Weiss of of Brigham Young University, Urbach won by a pin at 5:45 in the sudden victory period.

In the first period, Urbach trailed 2-0 but came back to tie the match in the second period at 2-2 with a takedown. Neither wrestler scored in the third period to force the fourth sudden victory period.

Urbach was unable to finish the tournament due to an injury.

Tate Allison wrestled at 165 pounds and went 2-2-1 with his two wins over opponents from Western Wyoming College and Northeastern Junior College.

The fourth returning wrestler was Lisiate Anau who wrestled at 285 pounds and placed third.

Zeigler said that, while all the wrestlers are currently a work in progress, “the younger guys I guess my expectations aren’t quite as high as the kids who have already wrestled in several tournaments.”

Six freshmen competed at the Cowboy Open.

Rocky Ciminera at 125 pounds went 0-2-1 in wins-losses-byes. Palmer Schafer wrestled at 141 pounds and went 1-2-1.

At 149 pounds, Sterling Kraye went 0-2-1 and in the 165-pound weight class, Logan Soundrup went 2-2-1.

Chayce Loveless wrestled at 184 pounds going 1-2-1. Loveless had a first round bye, won the second round by a pin at 2:44 over a Colorado School of Mines opponent to place him in the quarterfinals against Jimmy Weaver of Air Force. There, Loveless lost by a 7-4 decision. In the fourth round of the consolation bracket, he forfeited to an injury.

A 285 pounds, Davon Galindo went 2-2 for the Trappers, with two of his wins by way of pin.

Prior to the Cowboy Open, Zeigler had said the competition is a good way to measure where the team is at.

“I feel like we learned some things this weekend,” the coach said. “I think we definitely need to have better focus and intensity in our practices.”

Zeigler said the wrestlers “need to be more competitive, competing a little harder. I think our guys are a little nervous.”

Zeigler said that the three individuals that he is looking at real hard right now are returners Jeffries, Allison and Urbach.

“Those guys are in their second season and I guess my expectations have gone up for those guys,” Zeigler said. “Even though two of them redshirted last year, I am wanting them to step up and be a little more competitive than they were this weekend.”

“I am asking and calling on them for better focus, better discipline, higher level of intensity, those types of things,” Zeigler added. “They are great young men and I know they are going to come through.”

On Sunday, the Trappers will host the NWC Open with a 9 a.m start time.

Six teams will be competing, including the Trappers, Western Wyoming College, Otero, Northeastern Junior College, MSU-Northern, University of Providence (formerly the University of Great Falls) as well as possibly some younger wrestlers from Utah Valley and the University of Wyoming.

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