Northwest bound for nationals

Trapper wrestlers will leave it all on the mat in Iowa

By Steve Moseley
Posted 3/5/20

For seven Northwest College wrestlers the future is now: All the chips they have worked for this long season — every bump, bruise and black eye — is on the table.

Coach Jim Zeigler and …

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Northwest bound for nationals

Trapper wrestlers will leave it all on the mat in Iowa

Posted

For seven Northwest College wrestlers the future is now: All the chips they have worked for this long season — every bump, bruise and black eye — is on the table.

Coach Jim Zeigler and seven Trapper qualifiers take to the mats in the NJCAA National Wrestling Championships Friday and Saturday at the Mid-America Convention Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Northwest’s team for nationals consists of Dawson Barfuss (125 pounds), Van Bray (141), Brady Lowry (149), Jate Frost (165), Porter Fox (174), Tyson Carter (184) and Majid Muratov (195).

Fox, a sophomore, is the only Trapper who has wrestled on the national stage. He gained that valuable experience last year.

What will be his approach on this second visit to the cavernous facility on the plains?

“Going out there, not being scared and getting after it offensively,” Fox answered. It will certainly help, he added, to be “more familiar with the arena and the process.”

Bray said he is, “excited to wrestle … excited to get to it.”

“I feel good. Ready to go,” he said. “It should be good.”

Lowry is “right where I want to be” in terms of his mental and physical preparation for the challenge of nationals — and as for where he’s at on the bracket.

“Getting a win at districts helped with my seeding,” he said.

Lowry had a knee injury early in the season and took time off to let it heal. That proved good strategy because he is in good health now, exactly when he needs it most.

“Now I’m back and I feel 100%,” he said.

Carter said he’s “ready to have a good tournament, have some fun and get on the pedestal.”

“I’m ready to wrestle the best I can,” he said.

Job one for Barfuss is to “stay focused” and “do what I need to get done” during this rare opportunity.

Barfuss came to Powell from Bancroft, Idaho, in large part because his brother, Matthew, came before him as a Trapper.

“He’s the one that got me to love the sport,” the younger Barfuss said.

Muratov, a redshirt sophomore and native of Uzbekistan, qualified for the Asian Games in his homeland and holds his share of championship medals.

“I feel good, I’m training,” and, he added with a smile, “looking for my new national championship.”

As for Frost, coach Zeigler smiled in describing him as “my multi-sport athlete.”

The freshman from Roosevelt, Utah, is also a Trapper rodeo team member. He rides bulls and ropes among his events. Frost holds a PRCA card, competes on the pro rodeo circuit (permitted in collegiate rodeo) and was born to an iconic rodeo family.

Nationals, Frost said, presents “a great opportunity. I’m excited to go.” Frost quickly waved off a question about where he sits on his bracket. “I don’t know, and I don’t need to know.”

Frost will not turn 19 years old until April 26, but that’s not unusual on this Trapper team. Muratov, 23, is the grand old man of the bunch. The rest of this year’s qualifiers are all younger than 20 and several, like Frost, go to Iowa as 18-year-olds.

Zeigler said that factor makes it doubly important for his kids to get adequate sleep, eat well and tend to “body maintenance.”

In his long tenure as coach, every trip to nationals is different, Zeigler said.

“Every group you take is different. The constant is staying focused,” he said, and “understanding everything you’ve done the whole year comes down to this weekend.”

“We’re healthy. We have no excuses. We’re in the best shape we’ve been in all season,” Zeigler said, which is no small accomplishment given the physical wear and tear inherent in a full-out combat sport.

“We started with 14 guys and we still have 14 now. The only one who beats us, is us,” Zeigler said. “They control their own destiny.”

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