Grand Rapids, MN – Andre Baguma won a championship at heavyweight, and Austin Thompson, 125, Payton Jackson, 133, Jerimiah Pierre, 149, and Kaven Blazek, 165, added runner-up finishes to lead the Northland wrestling team to a second-place finish at the NJCAA North District National Qualifier Wrestling Tournament Sunday at Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids.
Also qualifying for nationals is Raul Chavarry, Miami, Fla., with a third-place finish at 157 pounds. Six national qualifiers is a new record for the Northland wrestling program that is in its seventh season after being established in fall 2013.
Baguma, Fargo, N.D., won his second consecutive NJCAA North District/MCAC Tournament championship with a win by fall over Itasca’s Cole Walsh in the semifinals, before surviving a 3-1 overtime win over Rochester’s John Noll in the championship match.
Thompson, a freshman from Grafton, N.D., began his day with an 18-3 technical fall victory over returning MCAC champion Chris Romero of Minnesota West, before falling to Rochester’s Francis Fuenffinger by 16-3 major decision in the championship match.
Jackson, a sophomore from Detroit Lakes, battled and came up short in a 20-4 technical fall loss to Parker Dobrocky of Rochester in the 133-pound championship.
At 149, Pierre, a freshman from Lawrenceville, Ga., pinned Chase Dorman of Minnesota West in the semifinals, before losing by 16-0 technical fall to Rochester’s Brandon Kidd in the championship match.
Blazek, a sophomore from Deerwood, effectively punched his ticket to nationals with win by fall in the semifinals over Itasca’s Austin Voss, before losing to Rochester’s Seth Brossard in the 165-pound championship match.
Also placing but not qualifying for nationals were Isaiah Arredondo, Columbus, Ga., fourth place at 141; Ben Stevens, Grand Forks, N.D., fourth at 174; and Shawn Rodriguez, third at 197.