After a disappointing showing at the Cowboy Open in Laramie to open the season, the Northwest College wrestling team bounced back over the weekend at Saturday’s NWC Open, placing six Trappers …
After a disappointing showing at the Cowboy Open in Laramie to open the season, the Northwest College wrestling team bounced back over the weekend at Saturday’s NWC Open, placing six Trappers on the podium.
“They rebounded pretty good,” NWC head coach Jim Zeigler said of his squad. “They’re young, they’re inexperienced, there’s just a lot of factors that are challenges in their development, the speed of their development. But they’re coming along.”
Otero Junior College 26, Trappers 15
The weekend began for NWC on Friday with a dual meet against Otero Junior College at Cabre Gym. The Trappers managed just three wins in the contest, losing to the Rattlers 26-15.
Posting wins for the Trappers were Bobur Berdiyorov at 133 pounds, Palmer Schafer at 141 pounds and Daniel Jordan at 285 pounds.
“It was a difficult night for us,” Zeigler said of the Otero dual. “Otero wrestled well, they did a good job. With it being our first home dual, I think there were some nerves involved, and they looked like a deer in headlights, a couple of them. They were afraid to pull the trigger, afraid to get after it.”
Northwest won two of the first three matches, with Berdiyorov and Schafer scoring back-to-back first-round pins against Otero’s Dessmond Prospero and Jake Ballesteros, respectively. Momentum shifted after that, however, and the Trappers next win didn’t come until the final match of the night. Daniel Jordan out-pointed Matthew Paeth 9-2 at 285 pounds for Northwest’s third and final win.
“After a lagging start at 125, those two guys [Berdiyorov and Schafer] came out like a house afire and got two big pins,” Zeigler said. “That set the tone, but immediately after that was a real buzzkill. It just put us right back down in the tank. Those momentum swings are huge in dual meets. Those guys gave us momentum — we just couldn’t sustain it.”
With 12 teams competing on three mats at the NWC Open on Saturday, the Trappers overcame the nerves from the night before to place six wrestlers on the podium.
“When you have three mats going and a lot of activity going on in the gym, the guys don’t feel like they’re the center focus of everything,” Zeigler explained. “When it’s just one mat and just you and another guy out there, it can get in your head a little bit. It takes a lot of courage just to go out on the mat. It’s a lot of pressure.”
Schafer finished the highest of the Trappers, advancing to the championship match at 141 pounds. A concussion suffered in an earlier match prevented him from wrestling for the title, however, and the sophomore had to settle for second place.
Northwest had three third-place finishers in Berdiyorov at 133 pounds, Yair Moran at 174 pounds and Porter Fox at 184 pounds. Rounding out the top six with a pair of fourth-place finishes were Logan Sondrup at 165 pounds and Daniel Jordan at 281 pounds.
Fox out-pointed Jake French of Montana State University Northern 7-3 in the third-place match at 184 pounds. Zeigler said Fox is quickly becoming one of Northwest’s most consistent competitors, continuing to get better with every match.
“This young man [Fox] has just been developing steam,” Zeigler said. “He’s not technically the most sound guy or the most physically gifted guy. But in our room he is without question the most competitive guy. He’s the guy that wants to win the most out of anyone on the team. He just displays that every day. He has that drive and desire, the things you can’t really coach in a kid.”
Moran decisioned University of Providence’s Alex Quick 8-6 in his third-place match at 174 pounds, and is another wrestler Zeigler said is attracting some attention.
“Moran has real talent and ability; he just has to put his game together,” Zeigler said. “He showed some real guts and abilities.”
At 133 pounds, Berdiyorov defeated MSUN’s Carl Cronin by major decision 17-6 in the third-place match. A native of Uzbekistan, the freshman is still transitioning from international wrestling to the American style, something that will take time, according to his coach.
“Bobur [Berdiyorov] is flashier; he has all the talents and gifts,” Zeigler said. “But folkstyle or collegiate style wrestling is new to him. All he’s ever wrestled is Olympic style, and it’s quite different.”
Zeigler went on to say that Berdiyorov has a tendency to give away a lot of points on stalling penalties, because stalling is not something routinely called in international wrestling.
“International wrestling is more about trying to score points, and if you get ahead, you kind of try to run out the clock,” he said. “Here, you get penalized for that. Here, you’re expected to continue competing and wrestling until the last whistle, and that is a new mentality for him. But he’s observant, and he learns real fast.”
The Trappers are on the road to Rock Springs Friday for a dual against Western Wyoming — a meet Zeigler said will be a true test. Northwest will be without its two most experienced wrestlers in Schafer and Sondrup, who are both still under concussion protocol from Saturday.
“That’s gonna be tough,” Zeigler said of Friday’s dual. “Western has a really good team — it’s going to be a tough challenge for us. We’re missing a weight class, and with Palmer [Schafer] and Logan [Sondrup] battling concussions, that leaves gaping holes and makes it a real uphill battle for us.”
“We’ll go down and compete hard, then take a little break for Thanksgiving and come back,” the coach said.