MONT ALTO, Pa. – Garrett College's participation in Saturday's King of the Mont Open wrestling tournament was historic. It was also hugely successful.
The Lakers officially became the first Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference member to field a wrestling team during the event, which took place at the Penn State University Mont Alto campus. Beyond the history of the moment, three GC wrestlers – Jordan Day (157 pounds), Davey Mundey (174 pounds), and Chris Estrada (197 pounds) – each went undefeated in their respective weight classes during the tournament.
"It was a historic day – a very special day for the college and our program," said GC head coach John Chambers. "I know the guys were anxious to get on the mats against competition. When you start seeing the same faces day in and day out in practice it can become stagnant."
Day, the former Northern Garrett High standout, went 3-0 while notching Garrett College's first victory and first pinfall along with the first-ever win by a Maryland JuCo wrestler. All of those milestones came in his opening match, a second-period pin of Lawrence Ortiz from Bergen (NJ) Community College.
Day claimed his final two wins by technical fall over Austin Croto of Kent State University-Tuscarawas, 17-1, and Thomas DeGaetano of the Delaware Wrestling Club, 20-2.
"Jordan was everything we thought he would be coming to GC – breaking down his opponents, staying aggressive offensively, working his set-ups and not letting his opponents work theirs," said Chambers.
Mundey pinned Joe Hudson of the West Chester Wrestling Club, registered a 10-1 major decision over Mason Contini of Kent State University-Tuscarawas, and then earned his second pin of the tournament against Aric Smoker of host Penn State Mont Alto.
"Like Jordan, Davey dominated all three of his opponents," Chambers said of Mundey, the Berkeley Springs High graduate who is the all-time wins leader among West Virginia high school wrestlers.
Estrada, a graduate of Herndon (Va.) High, had to go the distance in winning both of his matches. He topped Gabriel Ortiz of Bergen Community College, 11-5, and held off Carson Kinney of Lackawanna (Pa.) College, 3-1.
"Chris wrestles bigger than what he is," Chambers said of Estrada. "He had to deal with the length his opponents had. He outsmarted his opponents and capitalized on their mistakes."
While pleased with the results, Chambers cautioned, "It's really early."
"The wrestling season is so long and is such a grind," said Chambers, who is assisted by Josh Armstrong and Dustin Harsch. "We took away a lot of positives from the weekend and also a lot that we can still work on."
The Lakers will step up into a higher degree of difficulty this weekend as the only community college participating in the Cougar Open at Averett University in Danville, Va.
"This will be a challenging weekend – it will provide a measuring stick of where our guys are at this point," said Chambers.
Chambers, however, emphasized that the Lakers "aren't wrestling for November and December."
"We're wrestling for February," said Chambers, referring to the district tournament at Lackawanna College that serves as a national qualifier.
"All weight classes won't be full until the end of November when we've completed the weight assessments and the weight certification process," said Chambers, adding the process is meant to ensure wrestlers who are dropping weight are doing so safely and in a controlled environment. "Wrestling has become much more stringent over the years regarding cutting weight to make sure they are dropping weight in a healthy manner, which is how it should be done."
The Lakers' first-ever home match will be Thursday, November 15th at 7 p.m. against Alderson Broaddus University.