Northwest College

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NWC Hosting NJCAA District Qualifier

Posted by: Trapper Athletics — February 9, 2017

By BREANNE THIEL Tribune Sports Writer
Courtesy of the Powell Tribune

On Saturday, five teams will compete in Northwest College’s Cabre Gym for the National Junior College Athletic Association Rocky Mountain District Qualifier. Wrestlers who place in the top three for their weight class will advance to the NJCAA National Championship in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Feb. 24 and 25.

Five wrestlers will also be chosen by the coaches to attend the national tournament as wildcards.

“All season long we’ve worked to get to this point,” said NWC head coach Jim Zeigler. “Everyone seems very focused.”

The event will feature Northwest, Western Wyoming College of Rock Springs, Northeastern Junior College out of Sterling, Colorado, Otero Junior College of La Junta, Colorado, and Northwest Kansas Technical College out of Goodland, Kansas. 

Updated NJCAA national rankings were released Monday and NWC rose from being ranked No. 14 to No. 7. That makes the Trappers the highest ranked team among Saturday’s competitors. 

Western and Otero are in a three-way tie for No. 13, while Northwest Tech sits at No. 18; Northeastern is not currently in the top 24. 

Between the five teams, there are seven nationally ranked wrestlers — four of them Trapper wrestlers. 

The four are NWC sophomores:

  • Heber Shepherd from Spanish Fork, Utah, ranked No. 2 in the 184-pound weight class
  • Andrew VonRein of Lander, ranked No. 4 in the 165-pound weight class
  • Riley Loveless from Payson, Utah, ranked No. 5 in the 141-pound weight class 
  • Justin Polkowske from Torrington, ranked No. 7 in 149-pound weight class

The other three nationally ranked wrestlers are Cole Verner of Western Wyoming, ranked No. 1 at 125 pounds, Zach Beard of Otero, also ranked No. 1 at 165 pounds, and heavyweight wrestler Odgerek Batkhishig of Northwest Tech, who is ranked No. 2. 

Wrestling will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday. 

All day passes are $10 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens; half day passes, with a start time of 3 p.m., will be $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. Children aged 5 and under are free, as are NWC students who bring their ID, thanks to the NWC Student Senate.

Those unable to attend the event can watch a live broadcast at athletics/tournament/njcaa/2017/.