Ridgewater and Northland Pull The Plug on 2020-2021

By Matt Krumrie

It's not the type of start new Ridgewater College wrestling coach Joey Brown expected when he took over the wrestling program in May of 2020. But, it's still 2020, and things are far from normal. So nothing is a surprise.

In mid-November, Ridgewater College and Northland Community and Technical College announced that all winter athletics programs, including wrestling, would be suspended due to growing concerns over the Coronavirus. Ridgewater also canceled spring sports for this season.

"Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it presents, our season has been suspended," said Brown. "We would have had a very young team that had one returning wrestler from last year (285-pound national qualifier Charlie Farhat of Willmar). I came on in late May to take over the rebuild of our program, and we got off to a great start adding 12 first-year guys to the roster. We were excited because we would have filled a full varsity lineup for the upcoming season. Once we got word the season was not going to happen for us, we met with our guys and supported them in the option to move on. About half of the guys decided to move on, and one is going to graduate in the spring."

Northland had a strong team ready to compete in the MCAC and NJCAA this season. "I respect the fact that this was a difficult decision for our institution to cancel winter sports," said Northland wrestling coach Scott DCamp. "I don't agree with it, however, because I feel like we had a plan in place that would have allowed us to attend classes, practice, and compete in a safe manner."

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NJCAA announces 2020-21 eligibility status

Charlotte, NC – The NJCAA Board of Regents met Thursday to discuss NJCAA student-athlete eligibility for the 2020-21 academic year. Following the Board of Regents’ vote, all 2020-21 NJCAA sport seasons (fall, winter, spring) will not count towards student-athlete eligibility. The eligibility relief is provided to all NJCAA student-athletes regardless of sport season participation in the 2020-21 academic year.

“The Board of Regents feels this decision is best for the success and well-being of our student-athletes and member colleges at this time,” stated Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO. “There is no right answer to this challenge and situation, but as an association, we are going to support the eligibility of all our student-athletes to help them succeed in their academic and athletic careers.”

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MCAC Presidents Announce Decision on Fall Sports

The Minnesota State presidents of the member colleges of the MCAC met to determine how to move forward with intercollegiate athletics for fall semester in light of COVID-19. The presidents reaffirmed the commitment to protecting the health of student athletes.

In consideration of the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health, fall sports will be limited to those that have been identified as low-risk, Clay Target and Golf. Seasons have been canceled for football, volleyball, and soccer.

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Pioneers’ Baguma finishes sixth at NJCAA Championship

Northland wrestlers finish 25th at NJCAA Tournament

Council Bluffs, Iowa – Northland sophomore heavyweight Andre Baguma concluded his second and final season at the junior college level with a sixth-place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament Friday and Saturday, March 6-7 at the Mid America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Overall, Northland wrestlers amassed 17 team points to finish 25th overall and seventh among NJCAA non-scholarship programs.

Baguma, Fargo, N.D., was one win away from the medal stand in his first national tournament last year. Baguma was seeded fifth in this year’s tournament. He drew a first-round bye in the 29-man bracket and reached the quarterfinals with a workman-line 6-3 win over Darius Wilkins of Pratt.

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