Two Northland Community & Technical College wrestlers claimed individual championships on Sunday to lead the Pioneers to a runner-up finish in the 2017 NJCAA Region XIII/MCAC State Tournament. Sophomore Mitchell Zachman won the gold medal at 174 pounds, while freshman Nathanael Holecek took first place honors at 184.
The region runner-up finish is Northland’s highest ever in the program’s fourth year of existence.
Rochester Community & Technical College claimed the team championship with eight champions, while amassing 110.5 points. The host Pioneers were second with 71.5.
“We knew going in that it would be tough to dethrone Rochester,” said Northland Head Coach Scott DCamp. “They had 10 guys scoring points and we only had eight. We needed to wrestle pretty much a perfect tournament to have any shot at a team title.
“We had eight guys competing and realistically needed to have seven or eight champs to have a shot. I’m proud of my guys for giving it their all and setting the bar for future Northland teams.”
This year, the MCAC State Tournament was also conducted as the North District national qualifier after the NJCAA separated the teams in Region 11 (Iowa) and Region 13 (Minnesota) into two separate qualifying districts.
Overall, five Pioneer wrestlers punched their ticket to Council Bluffs, Iowa for the NJCAA Championship meet Feb. 24-25. Along with Zachman and Holecek, freshman Desmond Bradford earned an automatic birth with a runner-up finish at heavyweight. Qualifying as wildcards were freshman Mike Lambert, runner-up at 165; and freshman Anthony Vizcaino at 141.
1. Rochester Community & Tech. College 110.5; 2. Northland Community & Technical College 71.5; 3. Itasca Community College 36.5; 4. Ridgewater College 34.0; 5. Minnesota West Comm & Tech 8.0
- 141 – Anthony Vizcaino (10-9) placed 3rd and scored 6.00 team points. Semifinal – Lamont Cannon (MN West) def. Anthony Vizcaino (NCTC) 2-0; 3rd Place Match – Anthony Vizcaino (NCTC) fall Hunter Quiring (Ridgewater College) fall 0:54.
- 149 – Rashidi Kikopa (4-14) placed 3rd and scored 4.00 team points. Round 1 – Leo Kerfeld (Ridgewater) won by tech fall over Rashidi Kikopa (NCTC) 18-0; Round 2 – Coltan Laganiere (RCTC) won by major decision over Rashidi Kikopa (NCTC) (MD 8-0)
- 157 – Tanner Schreifels (3-8) placed 4th and scored 2.00 team points. Semifinal – Sam Naddy (ICC) won by decision over Tanner Schreifels (NCTC) 7-2; 3rd Place Match – Bailey Eickhoff (Ridgewater) won by decision over Tanner Schreifels (NCTC) (Dec 2-1)
- 165 – Michael Lambert (14-16) placed 2nd and scored 10.00 team points. Round 1 – Michael Lambert (NCTC) won by injury default over Augustus Siaway (Ridgewater); Round 3 – Alfred Daniel (RCTC) won by major decision over Michael Lambert (NCTC) 12-1.
- 174 – Mitchell Zachman (11-5) placed 1st and scored 16.00 team points. Round 2 – Mitchell Zachman (NCTC) won by fall over Ryan Kottschade (RCTC) Fall 3:34; Round 3 – Mitchell Zachman (NCTC) won by fall over Nicolas Stafford (Ridgewater College) 0:47.
- 184 – Nathanael Holecek (20-6) placed 1st and scored 13.50 team points. Round 2 – Nathanael Holecek (NCTC) won by tech fall over Dustin Lee (RCTC) 20-5; Round 3 – Nathanael Holecek (NCTC) won by decision over Kolton Eischens (ICC) 12-7.
- 197 – Tyshaun Brown (2-9) placed 2nd and scored 7.00 team points. 1st Place Match – Mason Hawkins (RCTC) 1-0 won by tech fall over Tyshaun Brown (NCTC)19-4.
- 285 – Desmond Bradford (14-16) placed 2nd and scored 13.00 team points. Quarterfinal – Desmond Bradford (NCTC) won by fall over Austin Pulse (MN West) 2:30; Semifinal – Desmond Bradford (NCTC) won by fall over Wyatt Fitterer (ICC) 1:03; 1st Place Match – Chase Nottestad (RCTC) won by fall over Desmond Bradford (NCTC) 1:17.