MIAMI — The quirk of the schedule helped Northeastern A&M wrestling coach Joe Renfro create a loaded field for the first NEO Duals.
Nine of the NJCAA’s wrestling top 25 and seven of the top 10, will be in the field for the duals event, which will be held Friday, Jan. 11, in the Glen Wolfe Student Activity Center and NEO Field House.
Joining NEO, second in the Jan. 8 NJCAA poll, are No. 1 Clackamas (Oregon) Community College), No. 3 Northwest Kansas Tech (its best in program history), T4 Iowa Central, No. 6, Ellsworth, No. 7 Iowa Lakes and No. 8 Iowa Western.
Also in the field are 14th-ranked Labette (Kansas) Community College, No. 15 Cloud County (Kansas) Community College, Northwest Wyoming (which was eighth at last year’s national tournament) and Neosho County (Kansas) Community College.
“I just said ‘if you want a shot at the title, come on down,’” Renfro said. “Those that wanted a shot a the title bit. Those that didn’t said ‘we’re too scared.’”
A quirk on the calendar also helped draw the talented field.
“The Iowa conference didn’t get out of school until Dec. 22. They boycotted the national duals,” Renfro said. “Fine, we’ll hold a national duals at our place. In a worst-case scenario, we could get the Iowa conference and match them up with us and the Kansas conference.”
But instead, he was able to lure Clackamas, especially with a guarantee of six matches for every squad.
“The top four is going to beat each other up and it’s going to scramble the rankings a little bit,” Renfro said.
Six rounds, using five mats, is planned, with action starting at 9 a.m.
The final rotation of the day starts at 5:45 p.m.
Included in that final round is a matchup between the Golden Norsemen and Clackamas, who finished 1-2 last year.
NEO, with six placers, generated 147.5 points while Clackamas had five medalists and 124.5.
The other five matches for the Norse include Cloud County, 9 a.m.; Northwest Wyoming, 10:45 a.m.; Iowa Central, 12:30 p.m.; Iowa Lakes, 2:15 p.m., and Labette, 4 p.m.
Six Norse wrestlers are included in the NJCAA Wrestling Coaches Association top 10 individually:
Boo Dryden (22-0), Kendon Lee (15-5) and Alex Kauffman (13-3) are ranked No. 1 nationally at 133, 149 and 184 pounds, respectively.
Heavyweight Tony Andrade (18-4) is second and Mason Naifeh (19-3) and Zach Porter (13-9) are sixth at 125 and 157.
Other wrestlers who are No. 1 nationally that will be in the field include Dillon Prusch, Labette, 125; Bat-Erdene Boldmaa, Northwest Kansas Tech, 141; David Hollingsworth, Iowa Lakes, 157; Tyree Sutton, Iowa Central, 197, and Tommy Mommer, Clackamas, heavyweight.