Four teams — starting with Western Wyoming, ranked No. 1 in the nation — will converge on the Trapper Gym Saturday with berths in the NJCAA Wrestling Championships hanging in the …
Four teams — starting with Western Wyoming, ranked No. 1 in the nation — will converge on the Trapper Gym Saturday with berths in the NJCAA Wrestling Championships hanging in the balance.
In addition to the Mustangs of Western Wyoming College in Rock Springs and the hosting Northwest Trappers, the Rocky Mountain District includes Otero Junior College (La Junta, Colorado) and Northeastern Junior College (Sterling, Colorado).
The colleges’ four coaches will meet Friday evening to seed wrestlers onto the tournament bracket. The first-round semifinals begin at noon Saturday. First seeds will wrestle fourth seeds and seconds will wrestle thirds.
Northwest College coach Jim Zeigler said the tournament is “pretty much pre-seeded” because information about individual wrestlers’ records, head-to-head results and common opponents at trackwrestling.com is very comprehensive and complete.
At 2 p.m., the first wrestling coach in Northwest College history — the late Gerry Danko, who passed in July 2019 — will be honored. His wife Carolyn, an NWC trustee, will be in attendance.
Zeigler called Gerry Danko, “A friend and mentor to the program and a lifelong educator.”
The championship and consolation finals begin immediately following the recognition. Action will be contended on two mats throughout the afternoon.
Zeigler describes the event as more of an elimination than a traditional national tournament qualifier. That’s because the NJCAA permits each region to determine its own formula for which wrestlers advance to Council Bluffs, Iowa, on March 6-7. However, the total cannot exceed 70% of the regional field.
Zeigler said first- and second-place finishers will make the cut, plus the likelihood of a few more via wildcards to complete the 70% allowed. How many extras qualify will ultimately be based upon the total number of wrestlers. As for his Trappers, Zeigler said “we’ve got a good chance to qualify six or seven guys” for the national tournament at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs.
Admission to the Rocky Mountain District event Saturday in Powell is $10 adults, $5 students and senior citizens and children under 11 free. Trapper Booster passes are not valid Saturday and NWC students will sign in with their college ID.