MIAMI — Twenty-two teams are expected to send full squads or a handful of wrestlers for Saturday's inaugural Norseman Open.
“It’s going to be a good tournament,” NEO coach Joe Renfro said following Wednesday's 22-13 win over Oklahoma City University. “I just got off the phone with Coach Smith (Oklahoma State coach John Smith) and he said they are sending anywhere from eight to 14. Ouachita Baptist, which is another four-year school where we sent guys to, is coming up (sending between 13 and 15).
Competition starts at 9 a.m. at the Glen Wolfe Student Activity Center with four mats. Seating will be on the upper mezzanine level.
NJCAA teams joining the No. 1-ranked Norsemen in the field will be Arkansas Baptist, No. 19 Barton (Kansas) Community College, No. 21 Labette (Kansas) Community College and Neosho County (Kansas) Community College.
No. 8 Oklahoma City University, which wrestled NEO here Wednesday night, heads up the list of NAIA schools expected.
Others include Bacone College, Baker University, Central Baptist College, Lindenwood Belleville College, Lyon College, No. 19 Missouri Valley College and Ottawa University.
Second-ranked OSU, Oklahoma and No. 7 Missouri will have wrestlers in the field along with NCAA Division II programs Central Oklahoma (ranked ninth), Central Missouri, Drury, Lindenwood and Ouachita Baptist.
Texas A&M’s club team also is expected to send some wrestlers.
“It’s going to be an interesting weekend,” Renfro said. “We will run until we’re done straight through to the finals.”
He said the tournament could expand to using the NEO Field House next year.
“It might be an option next year, that we might have to utilize that if it grows,” Renfro said. “There is nothing wrong with that. It would be a great problem to have.”
Saturday’s event will be the last competition for the Norsemen before the NJCAA West-Central District qualifier Feb. 11 in Pratt, Kansas.
“We’re looking for a small open at the end of the year to stay fresh two weeks before the regionals and do what we need to do,” Renfro said.