Safarov, Anau claim championship titles
The Northwest College wrestling team hosted the NWC Open on Sunday, with six teams on campus to compete. Trappers Nodir Safarov and Lisiate Anau both claimed championship titles, with Jeffrey Oakes placing second and Chayce Loveless taking third.
Trappers head coach Jim Zeigler said he thought Safarov and Anau “did an outstanding job.”
Safarov moved up to the 133-pound weight class and took first place and Anau placed first at the 285-pound weight class.
Zeigler also pointed out that a wrestler is “supposed to look greatly improved” from their freshman year — and Anau does.
Oakes took second in the 197-pound weight class.
“I think Jeff [Oakes] did a great job,” Zeigler said.
In the championship match, Oakes faced off against Isaac Bartel of Montana State University-Northern, where the bout went into the fourth period or sudden victory. Zeigler said there are critical situations in every match and Oakes’ critical moment was in the first 25 seconds in the match, where he almost got a takedown and two points. Instead, the first period ended with a score of 0-0 and — the match was still tied at 1 each after three.
“You have to capitalize when the opportunity presents itself, whether it’s in the first 25 seconds or the last and you have to recognize those as the critical moment and ‘I got to win this,’” Ziegler said. “And that’s when your extra effort needs to be applied.”
Oakes lost the match in the last five seconds by a score of 3-1.
“Jeff’s a guy that adjusts well, he learns,” Zeigler said. “That’s a very teachable moment for him.”
Freshman Loveless took third in the 184-pound weight class. Zeigler said he thinks Loveless “wrestled better through the consolation, he just needs some experience.”
In the consolation semi-final match, Loveless came back to win 11-6.
As for the rest of the team, Zeigler said “I feel like once again that there’s some young men on our team that are lacking the necessary focus and discipline.”
Zeigler stressed that what he means by discipline is discipline on the mat and with their wrestling.
“They are great young men,” the coach said, adding that he just wants the team to be more focused and disciplined in accomplishing their goals.
“If you don’t know what your goals are then your work is nonspecific — you’re just working,” Zeigler said.
A goal of many college wrestlers is to be an All-American, but one has to do more than just show up to practice every day and work hard.
“You have to set your standard higher; you can’t compare or set your standard based on what everyone else is doing,” Zeigler said.
The top eight wrestlers in the nation in each weight class get the title of All-American. To become an All-American, one has set oneself to a higher standard in training and in their discipline in the training; to be above average, one has to train above an average level, Zeigler pointed out. The discipline in the training is applied off the wrestling mat as well, as it also includes a proper, well balanced diet, additional workouts, pushing past a comfort zone and also having good grades.
“If you’re going to have lofty goals, you have to have specifics in your preparation for that,” Zeigler said. Match management is something the team is also working on.
“There [are] critical situations in every match,” Zeigler explained. “It’s like a war: You have to win certain battles to win the war, so I think they don’t recognize some of those important battles when they occur or situations where a little extra effort at certain points will make a huge difference in the outcome. That comes with seasoning and experience.”
So far this season, Zeigler said he’s pleased with the success of the team, but is not content — he feels that the wrestlers can be better and can achieve success as they gain more experience.
Ziegler said the NWC Open as a whole ran smoothly.
“I felt like we had good competition,” the coach said. “I feel like everything went real well with it.”
He gave credit to the Laughlin family — George, George Jr. and Kelly — for making the tournament a success.
“They do a great job running it,” Zeigler said.
This week, the Trappers will face off against Western Wyoming College Friday in Rock Springs at 6 p.m.