P O W E L L, W y o. - Lovell High School graduate Kade Caturia paced the Northwest College Wrestling Team to the national championship and earned personal glory for himself as well with a fifth place individual placing.
Wrestling at 165 pounds, Caturia helped the NWC Trappers rewrite the record books at the National Junior College Athletic Association Wrestling Championship tournament Feb. 27 and 28 in Rochester, Minn.
The Trappers posted 155.5 points to claim top dog honors, the most recorded by a single team during the entire 44-year history of the tournament. California's Lassen College was a distant second, posting 89.5 points, followed by Iowa Central Community College (87.5), North Idaho College (82) and Kansas' Colby Community College (78.5)
The NWC grapplers were ranked first in the nation before they even hit the mats this season and never surrendered their position. And for the first time in its history, Northwest College qualified a wrestler for the national tournament in all 10 weight categories.
Caturia figured prominently in that success story. The freshman All-American posted a 23-15 record this season and finished in fifth place nationally.
"Kade is our overexcited wrestler," coach Jim Zeigler said. "Surprisingly, he has a very calm and nice demeanor off the mat, but he tends to get very, very excited and aggressive when he's on the mat. This works in his favor and at times it works against him. Most of us know that when Kade wrestles he will score almost all the points in the match - both his and his opponents'. He tends to make a few mistakes from being overexcited. I often have to tell him to slow down, to settle down to regain his control and focus."
Zeigler is quick to point out, however, that despite the mistakes Caturia makes, his win-loss record and his All-American honors prove that in the long run he scores more points for himself than for his opponents.
"All I can say is if he ever stops making those little errors, he may be the greatest wrestler ever," Zeigler predicted.
Caturia still has one more year of wrestling eligibility at NWC , but his most immediate goal, according to Zeigler, is to try to have a baby with his wife , Amy, who is a member of the nationally ran ked NWC Women's Basketball Team.
Named the 2004 national coach of the year, Zeigler has carved a reputation for his coaching philosophy, which includes monthly team/family dinners, regular off-the-mat team/family activities and weekly (sometimes twice-weekly) compulsory academic study halls for the whole team. He recruits young wrestlers on the basis of their character as well as athletic potential.
As a freshman national qualifier, Caturia's potential came to fruition early. He finished his season with a win over Southwest Oregon Community College's Nick Ammerman and a fifth place NJCAA National Tournament finish.
Caturia is taking general studies at Northwest College. His collegiate wrestling success follows an outstanding high school career that included two state championships.
His parents are Priscilla and Scott Caturia of Lovell.