Seven Ridgewater Warriors Qualify for NJCAA Wrestling Nationals

WILLMAR and HUTCHINSON, MN — Seven Ridgewater Warrior wrestlers are headed to nationals this week for the March 1-2 wrestling championships in Council Bluffs, Iowa. They qualified at the February 19 Division III Region 13 Tournament in Rochester.

Sophomore Cole Holien, from Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City High School, defended his 141-pound regional championship honor by winning his bracket. At 157 pounds, freshman Taedon Nichols (Siren, WI) also won his bracket to become a regional champ, as did Tucker Hugg (St. Cloud, Granite City Baptist Academy) at 285 pounds.

Sophomore Ross Meskimen (Ramsey) took second in the 184-pound competition.

Ridgewater Warrior Action Shot Tucker Hugg
Ridgewater Warrior Tucker Hugg became a Region 13 285-pound champion on February 19 in Rochester. He and six teammates will now head to NJCAA National Championships in Iowa on March 1-2. Additional Warriors heading to the big show include newly named MCAC Outstanding Wrestler of the Year Cole Holien, Taedon Nichols, Ross Meskimen, Brady Holien, Terrell Renne, and Cody Brott.

Taking third-place honors and wild card qualifying spots at nationals were sophomore Brady Holien (149 pounds from Atwater), freshman Cody Brott (174 pounds from St. Cloud), and freshman Terrell Renne (197 pounds from Atwater).

As a team, the Warriors placed third with 82 points.

“This was our best performance of the year by far,” said Co-head Coach Travis Deegan. “We attacked positions, scored bonus points, and wrestled with a relentless pace. We’re very proud of how these guys wrestled and represented our program and school.”

The Warriors qualified six athletes last year when co-coaches Deegan and Logan Peterson began at Ridgewater.

In addition to accomplishments on the mat, coaches also shared pride for Cole Holien earning unanimous honors for the Minnesota College Athletic Conference Outstanding Wrestler of the Year.

“Cole pinned Itasca’s Nelson Anderson in an efficient one minute and 55 seconds in the final to go 2-0 on the final day,” said Coach Peterson. “Cole has an impressive 34-9 record this season. He embodies the essence of toughness and excellence, both on and off the wrestling mat. Renowned for his unwavering resilience, he faces challenges head-on, earning the reputation of being as tough as nails.”

Peterson added that Holien’s excellence goes beyond competition. “Off the mat, Cole maintains a disciplined approach to training and academics, serving as a role model for his teammates. His commitment to excellence sets the standard for our team culture, fostering an environment of accountability and teamwork.”

NJCAA North Plains District Results

Looking ahead to nationals March 1-2, Warrior coaches like their chances for success. “The sweat and sacrifice of a year’s worth of hard training are about to pay off,” Peterson said. “Our athletes have pushed themselves to the limit day in and day out, honing their skills and building on their mental toughness. Now, as we enter the final stretch, we’re more than ready to dominate our competition. Every grueling practice has prepared us for this moment. We’re a force to be reckoned with, and we’re poised to make our mark on the national stage.”

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