Northwest College opened its annual showcase wrestling event with a 29-16 loss on Friday against Iowa Lakes. The Trappers won four of nine contested matches in the dual.
After forfeiting the 125 divsion, Northwest’s Jesse Hillhouse, ranked No. 1 nationally, earned a win by fall in the second period to recover the six team points for the Trappers. Iowa Lakes responded by winning the next four classes, including a win by fall and two major-decision victories, to go up 23-6.
Freshman Keithen Cast stopped the scoring avalanche from the visitors by posting a 12-4 major decision win at 174. Nick Petersen, the Trappers’ other No. 1 wrestler at the moment, added a 12-9 victory at 184, pulling Northwest back to within 23-13.
Iowa Lakes assured itself of the dual win with a second-period win by fall at 197 pounds. Sears Tiernan ended things on a winning note for the Trappers, however. Tiernan scored a 4-1 victory at heavyweight to pull Northwest to give the dual its final margin.
On Saturday, the Trappers opened against Western Wyoming in a dual originally scheduled for earlier in the season. After both teams left the 125-pound class vacant, Hillhouse opened with a 6-2 victory for the Trappers.
Western countered with 14 team points over the next three matches, scoring major-decision wins at 141 and 149 before scoring a win by fall at 157.
Bernie Dupuy stopped the slide of points with a wild 16-11 victory at 165 pounds. The bout featured four reversals and a flurry of activity in all three periods. Cast added a major-decision win at 174 and Petersen pulled the Trappers level with a major decision at 184.
Ben Price earned a takedown seconds before the final buzzer to capture the 197-pound class. Western Wyoming failed to send a competitor to the mat for the 285-pound contest, giving the Trappers a nine-point team victory.
That set Northwest College up for its Moose Cup clash against North Idaho. The Cardinals entered with a 15-point lead in the quest for the cup — a traveling trophy contested annually between the two schools.
The dual opened with a bang as Hillhouse and North Idaho’s Brock Banta locked horns in a meeting of the No. 1 and No. 2 wrestlers in the nation at 133 pounds. Hillhouse grabbed the lead with a pair of first-period takedowns, then added an escape for the only point scored in the second period on the way to a convincing 8-2 victory.
After a North Idaho win by fall at 141, Bobby Robbins scored a one-point decision for Northwest with a late takedown in his match against No. 11 McKray Jones. North Idaho countered with another win by fall at 157 and added a 5-3 decision victory against Dupuy at 165.
That set up another of the dual’s showcase pairings as No. 2 Jesse Nielson of North Idaho squared off against the Trappers’ fifth-ranked Cast.
Nielson grabbed an early one-point lead in the bout and held that margin going into the final period. The Cardinals’ sophomore made it a two-point advantage when Cast cut him loose midway through the third period and the Trapper freshman was unable to get his man to the mat in the final seconds, falling 5-3.
North Idaho added a win by fall at 197 pounds before Tiernan wrapped up the dual with a 3-1 victory for the Trappers, who fell 30-12 on the final team scoreboard.
In one of the annual highlights of the dual, Trapper sophomores Jake Budd and Bobby Robbins were named co-winners of the Apodaca Award. The announcement marked the first time in the award’s history that it was bestowed upon multiple recipients. Named after Brooks Apodaca, the former captain of the NWC wrestling team who died in a car accident, the award is given annually the team member judged to have best fulfilled their role on the Trappers’ wrestling team.
“Those of us on the team know exactly why these two guys are both worthy,” said Trapper wrestling coach Jim Zeigler. “They are both known for their tireless work ethic and their competitive mentality. They’ve distinguished themselves as true student-athletes. They’re reliable and dependable in every way and they’re the kind of young men that any organization would be lucky to have.”
Budd has held down the 141-pound slot in the Trappers’ lineup for much of the season. Robbins has been a fixture at 149 pounds this season, including a short stint in the national rankings.
The Trappers take this week off. Northwest College will host the West Central Zone championships on Feb. 11.