Trappers’ signature event, the ‘Apodaca,’ begins Friday

By Steve Moseley
Posted 1/23/20

The Apodaca Dual Showdown opens its 22nd year at 7 p.m. Friday on the mats of Cabre Gym at Northwest College.

Trapper coach Jim Zeigler established the event more than two decades ago to honor …

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Trappers’ signature event, the ‘Apodaca,’ begins Friday

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The Apodaca Dual Showdown opens its 22nd year at 7 p.m. Friday on the mats of Cabre Gym at Northwest College.

Trapper coach Jim Zeigler established the event more than two decades ago to honor Brooks Apodaca, a standout wrestler and teammate who died in 1998.

Apodaca was a team captain for the Trappers, a two-year varsity competitor and national qualifier. The four-team, head-to-head shootout, however, honors Apodaca as much for his leadership, competitive spirit, character and work ethic as for his skill on the mat.

Since its founding, the Apodaca Dual Showdown has become NWC’s flagship event in ways that include much more than takedowns and pins.

Friday evening will begin with the presentation of the coveted Apodaca Award to a current member of the team.

Zeigler and his Trappers face Northeastern Junior College of Colorado at 7 p.m. Friday and Iowa Central at 1 p.m. Saturday. At 10 a.m. Saturday, Iowa Central duals Northeastern and at 11:30 it’s Iowa Central vs. Western Wyoming.

“It’s an important week for the team,” Zeigler said, “and a difficult week for me” as he reflects on Apodaca and “how much he meant to this program.”

The Apodaca Dual Showdown “symbolizes the spirit we want our students and athletes” to embody, the coach said, adding that, “It’s become part of our identity.”

The event will also be the first time Trapper fans have seen their team at home since November. Only one more chance remains this season — when the Rocky Mountain District qualifier for the national championships in Council Bluffs, Iowa, comes to Cabre Gym on Saturday, Feb. 22. In between, the Trappers will load the bus for Riverton and Havre and Great Falls, Montana.

This weekend’s competition at the Cabre Gym promises to be first rate.

Iowa Central is a perennial, top five powerhouse and right now Western Wyoming is ranked first in the nation among NJCAA Division I wrestling programs.

“We use this event to bring families together, and kids and fans together. If people come to only one event a year, it’s this one,” Zeigler commented. “It warms my heart” to have known Apodaca, he said, adding, “His spirit and his name have a home here.”

The coach is spending this week preparing his Trappers, including trying to make them fully grasp the history and purpose of this special weekend. When they get it and buy in, Zeigler said, amazing accomplishments have happened over the years.

The Apodaca Award, to be presented Friday at 7 to a still-unnamed Trapper, “is one of the highest honors on our team,” said the coach, largely because the criteria extend beyond wins and losses. It is awarded, he summarized, “to that guy everybody can count on.”

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