Lakers compete at their first national mat tourney

Lakers compete at their first national mat tourney

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. – Four Garrett College wrestlers each won at least one match at the NJCAA national championship tournament held March 1-2 at Iowa Western Community College.

"The national tournament was an awesome experience for our first-year program," said GC head coach John Chambers.  "Qualifying six true freshman, to experience this caliber of wrestling on the national stage, was very valuable for the growth of our program, wrestlers, and coaching staff."

Freshman Tanner Clark (17-10) finished in the Top 16 at 197 pounds, becoming the only Laker to win twice at nationals.  Clark lost to eventual national runner-up Joey Daniel of team champion Clackamas in the opening round, but battled back through to consolation bracket to defeat Bryce Pichler (Ellsworth) and Breason Lewis (Northeastern).  He was then eliminated by Hunter Gregerson (Northern Idaho).

Freshman Jordan Day (20-6) defeated Muskegon's Zack Young in the first round of the 157-pound draw before losing to Iowa Lakes' David Hollingsworth in the second round.  He was then eliminated by Niagara's Anthony Bell.

Freshman Davy Mundey (20-7) defeated Minnesota West's Braydon Johnson in a 165-pound first-round match before losing to Cowley's Garrett Lange in the second round and Ulster's Matthew Shields in the consolation bracket.

Freshman Jacob Sweitzer lost to eventual 133-pound national champion Boo Dryden of Northeast Oklahoma in the opening round, but rallied to defeat Cowley's Justice Circle in the consolation bracket.  Henry Ford's Santos Alverez then eliminated Sweitzer.

Chris Estrada (184 pounds) and Austin Dyson (174 pounds) also participated in nationals for GC, going 0-2 in their respective weight classes.

"Our wrestlers now have the knowledge of what it takes to compete on the national stage and will pass their knowledge on to our incoming freshmen," said Chambers, who is in the process of signing another impressive freshman class.  "Competing with national powerhouses – and full-scholarship wrestling programs – showed our wrestlers that we deserved to compete on the national stage."

Chambers expects the Laker program to made significant strides when their second season begins next November.

"We've improved so much since the beginning of the season," said Chambers.  "It was an honor to be chosen to lead this program.  We will continue to work hard with the goal of getting our guys in the top eight next season so they can stand on the podium as All-Americans."