SCRANTON, Pa. – Freshman Jordan Day put his name in the Garrett College record books on Saturday, claiming the 157-pound title at the NJCAA Eastern District II championships to become the first Laker to win a district wrestling crown.
"It's very exciting," said Day of his championship. "It took a lot of hard work, and a lot of support from our coaches and my teammates."
"Jordan's championship is something special," said GC head coach John Chambers, whose first-year program qualified six wrestlers for the national tournament. "It shows recruits that you can come to Garrett College and achieve your wrestling goals in addition to your academic goals."
Jacob Sweitzer (133 pounds) and Davy Mundey (165 pounds) finished third in their respective weight classes while Tanner Clark (197 pounds) took fourth and Chris Estrada (184 pounds) claimed fifth as each qualified for the national tournament. Austin Dyson went 0-2 at 174 pounds, but became the sixth Laker to qualify for nationals based on his overall record and seven quality wins.
The national tournament will take place March 1-2 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
"Our work has paid off and I think everyone is excited to see how it goes at nationals," said Day.
Host Lackawanna College edged Rowan College at Gloucester County, 74.5-71, to win the team title, with Middlesex County College (69.5) third. Spartanburg Methodist College rallied late to edge Garrett College, 57-54, for fourth place in the eight-team district tournament.
"We finished behind some established programs who have been district powerhouses," said Chambers, who is fielding an all-freshman team. "With the wrestlers we have coming back, and the recruits we have already signed for next year, I think we can contend for the district team title next season."
Day (17-4) began his championship run with a 13-3 win over Lackawanna's Timothy Molock in the semifinals. He then pinned Camden County (NJ) College's Devon Eddis 47 seconds into the second period of the championship match.
"Coach [Chambers] said to go out there like it was just another match and wrestle the way I always have," Day said of his approach to the district title match.
This was just the latest championship on Day's resume. The Northern High graduate, who compiled a 114-12 high school record, won a state title at 152 pounds last year after finishing second in the state at 145 pounds as a junior. Day was also the 152-pound champion with the Maryland/West Virginia team against Pennsylvania in the 2018 "Border Brawl."
Sweitzer pinned Rowan College's Josh Pollite in the 133-pound third-place match while Mundey overwhelmed Spartanburg's J.D. Harrelson, 10-1, in the 165-pound third-place bout.
"Jacob's had a rough year with injuries and a lot of things that hindered him in the regular season," said Chambers. "His performance at the district tournament shows he can be very competitive. I'm glad he gets to showcase his talents on a national stage.
"Davy and Jordan had the two toughest weight classes in our district," added Chambers. "Other than the semifinal match [where he was pinned by Rowan's Dylan Fisher], Davy wrestled great. I'm excited to see what he does in the national tournament."
Clark's fourth-place finish at 197 pounds included a four-overtime, 3-1 loss to Middlesex County's Farhan Khan in the semifinals. Tied 1-1, Khan got one of Clark's ankles with two seconds left in the fourth overtime and grabbed his other ankle at the buzzer, with the referee awarding a two-point takedown to end the match.
"I think that's one of the toughest losses I've ever been a part of," said Chambers. "I give Tanner a lot of credit for coming back through the bracket to finish fourth."
Clark beat Rowan's Brandon Johnson, 14-3, to reach the third-place match, where he was pinned 39 seconds into the middle period by Lackawanna's Cooper Kaminski.
Estrada also qualified for nationals with his 5-3 overtime victory against Camden County's Mike Schneider in the fifth-place match at 184 pounds.
"Chris has been battling a knee injury," noted Chambers. "For him to qualify for nationals, and to have another 10 days to try to get him closer to 100 percent, is really impressive."
GC's Blake Reynolds – who weighed in at 190 pounds – took fourth place at 285 pounds. He defeated Bergen's Randy Napolitano, 13-2, before getting pinned by eventual champion Mike O'Kara from Middlesex. Rowan's John Fountain then pinned Reynolds in the third-place match.
Only the top two 285-pounders qualified for nationals due to the small number of heavyweight entrants.