PARSONS, Kan. — Once again, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M will have all of its wrestlers competing in the NJCAA National Championship.
The Norsemen, who won the team title at Saturday’s West Central District with 186 points, had three individual winners (Alex Porter, Zeke Silva and Antonio Andrade), five runner-up finishes (Mason Naifeh, Boo Dryden, Corbin Nirschl, Kendon Lee and Alex Kauffman) and a pair of thirds (Kyle Caldwell and Kalin Winkler).
"It wasn't the prettiest region title, but we still managed to get the job done," said Norse coach Joe Renfro. We've got some work to do and we're already on it."
This is the sixth straight year since 2013 that NEO has won the district title and advanced all 10 wrestlers to the national tournament, which will be March 1-2 in the Mid-America Center at Council Bluffs, Iowa.
NEO has won national championships in 2014, 2016 and 2018, fifth in 2015 and third in 2017.
Dryden, Lee, Kauffman and Silva will be making a second straight trip to Council Bluffs.
Lee was third at 149 a year ago, Dryden fourth at 125, Kauffman fifth at 184 and Silva seventh at 197.
Lee was a third-team All-American and Dryden and Kauffman received honorable mention.
Dryden received the tournament’s most falls award with five.
Northwest Kansas Technical College was second in the team standings with 176.5 points. The Mavericks had nine qualifiers and four firsts.
Rounding out the team scores (with qualifiers and firsts) were Cloud County (Kansas) Community College, 125 (5-1); Barton (Kansas) Community College, 106 (6-1); Neosho County (Kansas) Community College, 86 (2-0); Labette (Kansas) Community College, 65 (1-0); Pratt (Kansas) Community College, 60.5 (3-1); Colby (Kansas) Community College, 17.0 (0-0), and Arkansas Baptist 6 (0-0).
Porter decisioned Chris Henderson of Pratt in the 157-pound final.
He won by forfeit against Luke Culbertson of Pratt in the quarterfinals and picked up a 9-5 semifinal win over Quentin Jiner of Cloud County.
Silva won the 197-pound title by squeezing by Chris Henderson of Pratt 10-9.
He had a 14-3 major decision against Dakota McCaleb of Labette and a 6-3 decision against James Johnson to reach the finals.
Andrade pinned Benny Hernandez of Cloud County at 4:22 to claim the 285-pound championship.
He also pinned Luis Rodriguez of Pratt at 2:13 in the quarterfinals, then decisioned Aaron Pringle of Neosho County 4-1 in the semis.
Naifeh lost a 3-1 decision to Tech’s Jordan Marshall in the 125-pound final.
Naifeh pinned Brian Gates of Barton at 2:00 and decisioned Tre Ponce of Labette 8-5 in his first two matches.
Munkhbat Bat-Reden of Northwest Tech rolled 10-0 against Dryden to take the 133-pound title.
Dryden opened with a pin at 2:14 over Marcus Hooks of Neosho County then picked up a 15-4 major decision against Gage Gomez of Barton in the semifinals.
Nirschl dropped an 11-6 decision to Bat-Erdene Boldmaa of Northwest Tech to decide first at 141.
In his first two matches, Nirschl got a 15-6 major decision against Bryce Gfeller of Cloud and an 8-6 decision against Jeff Merlo of Neosho County.
Lee pinned his first two opponents, Cordell Hunt of Labette (1:53) and Kolby Droegmeier of Barton (3:35), but fell 7-4 to Austin Eldridge of Cloud to decide the title at 149.
Charles Small of Tech squeezed out a 3-2 decision against Kauffman in the 184 finals.
Kauffman also had pins in his first two matches, at 1:40 against Derrion Miller of Arkansas Baptist and 6:28 over Joeyu Ewalt of Barton.
Caldwell won by injury default against Garrett Lange of Cowley in the 165-pound third-place match.
Caldwell had been pushed into the consolation side with a 5-2 loss to Keon Muckleven of Tech, but bounced back to stop Noah Aziere of Cloud by the same score.
Winkler also won by forfeit at 174 against Matthew Cruickshank of Cloud.
He lost 3-2 in the semifinals to Keon Mucklevene of Tech then stayed in the running with a consolation semifinal pin against Elias Manzanares of Neosho County.