“It’s a pretty fine crew,” said Trapper wrestling coach Jim Zeigler, the architect of the class. “From the number of state titles, you can tell this is an accomplished group of kids.”
It’s also a savvy bunch that’s grown up in the sport of wrestling. Nearly half of the incoming freshman class are the sons of wrestling coaches.
This year’s recruiting class is also a cross-section of the West. Three of the wrestlers are from Wyoming. Five more come to Powell from the state of Utah. Oklahoma, Arizona and Idaho are also represented.
The Wyoming signees include a pair of Rock Springs students, After claiming a state title at 112 pounds in 2011, Cody Vichi was the 120-pound Wyoming state champion in 4A this season for the Tigers. Vichi overpowered the weight class, pinning his way to the finals before scoring a 14-1 major decision in the championship. He’ll take the mat at 125 pounds for the Trappers.
Teammate Ryan Slaugh’s run to a 4A title at 138 pounds was only slightly more strenuous. Slaugh reached the championship via a pair of pins and a 16-0 technical fall before being pressed to a 6-4 decision by Gillette’s Lukas Poloncic. Slaugh is being eyed for either 141 pounds or 149 pounds for the Trappers.
“Those are two of the best kids to come out of the Rock Springs program in some time,” Zeigler notes. “We’re excited to have both of them coming to campus.”
Also joining the Trappers from Wyoming is Star Valley’s T.J. Guild, the 2012 state 3A title holder at 132 pounds. Guild compiled a 24-1 record during his senior season, winning the state title on a pair of wins by fall and major decisions in the semifinals and championship rounds.
Guild could wrestle at either 133 or 141 for the Trappers.
“We just added him this past week,” Zeigler said of Guild. “He’s another kid who has a state title. His father is an assistant coach there at Star Valley so he’s grown up in a wrestling family.”
The Utah contingent of the Trappers’ recruiting class is headlined by four-time state champion Jeff McCormick out of South Summit High School in Kamas, Utah. Over a seven-year period, McCormick owns more than 400 victories on the mat between high school, junior high and folkstyle wrestling, compared to fewer than two dozen losses.
Jeff will be joined in Powell by his brother Jake McCormick, also a Utah state champion, as the pair is likely destined to fill the 149 and 157-pound slots on the NWC roster in the future.
Also from Utah will be Korbin Levin, who joins the Trappers following a high school career in which he claimed three state titles in Utah’s 5A division — the state’s largest school classification — for Pleasant Grove High School. Another three-time state champion, Zac Loveless, follows the footsteps of former high school teammate and former Northwest College Trapper McCade Ford, who went on to wrestle at the University of Wyoming.
Two-time state champion Brenden Turner, from Filmore, Utah, rounds out the Beehive State’s contributions to this year’s NWC recruiting class.
The Trappers pick up a redshirt freshman and three-time state champion from Idaho in Boise’s Kolby Kloetzer. Kloetzer signed out of high school to wrestle for South Dakota State University and redshirted last year before making the decision to transfer to Powell. Kloetzer, who is expected to wrestle at 157 pounds, will have two years of eligibility available with the Trappers.
At the heavier weights, where NWC features some strong returning talent next season, the Trappers will add two-time Arizona state champion Diorian Coleman out of Mesa. Coleman will be eyed for the 165-pound division.
Rounding out the recruiting class at 197 pounds is Sapulpa, Okla., native Caleb Cotter. Cotter was a two-time state title winner in high school in Oklahoma.
The 2012-2013 wrestling season will be one of change for the Trappers, who will no longer compete against their traditional slate of Kansas schools when it comes time for the regional tournament. Northwest College, along with Western Wyoming, will now compete in the Northwest region after the NJCAA realigned its wrestling postseason assignments for the upcoming year.
“It didn’t really change the way we recruited,” Zeigler said of the change. “It may have changed the way a few other schools recruited though.”
The Trappers finished seventh in the nation at the 2012 NJCAA national tournament. The school crowned five All-Americans at that meet.