MIAMI — For the second straight year, the elite teams in the National Junior College Athletic Association will descend on Miami for the 2020 NJCAA Coaches Association Duals Friday, Jan. 10, and Saturday, Jan. 11.
The top eight teams in the most recent NJCAA ranking are entered along with the Golden Norsemen, who are fifth: No. 1 Western Wyoming Community College, No. 2 North Iowa Area Community College, No. 3 Clackamas (Oregon) Community College, No. 4 North Idaho College, No. 6 Iowa Central Community College, No. 7 Iowa Western Community College and No. 8 Ellsworth (Iowa) Community College.
“It will be an interesting tournament, a lot of teams are flying in to win this event and our expectations are the same,” said NEO coach Joe Renfro. “Everyone will be faced with similar issues: first time back from break, first time down to weight in over a month, first live match in over a month, eligibility from first semester, and I could go on.
“Regardless, we’re going to have to show up and compete and I feel confident that our team is going to do just that. We need to finish our Christmas training camp strong and stay focused.”
Also entered are No. 12 Triton (Illinois) College, No. 13 Cowley (Kansas) College, No. 16 Cloud County (Kansas) Community College, No. 17 Neosho County (Kansas) Community College, Barton (Kansas) College, Colby (Kansas) Community College, Iowa Lakes Community College, North Idaho College, Labette (Kansas) Community College, and Northwest (Wyoming) College.
Iowa Lakes and Colby picked up votes and are 21st and 22nd, respectively.
Friday’s schedule will be a team advancement tournament starting at 9 a.m. Saturday’s individual duals will be determined following Friday’s action.
The championship finals and consolation finals will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
NEO went 6-0 in the tournament a year ago, including a 31-9 romp over Clackamas, which went on to roll to the 2019 national championship.
The Norse also beat Cloud County, Northwest Wyoming, Iowa Western, Iowa Lakes and Labette.
Clackamas is the defending national champion. NEO placed second, Iowa Central third and Ellsworth fifth.
This marks the second straight year NEO has hosted the tournament.
The Norse also will host the West Central Qualifier in February.
Eight Golden Norsemen appear in the InterMat community college rankings: Mikey Mascarenas, third, 133; Blake Gonzalez, fourth, 141; Zach Porter, ninth, 149; Scott Radke, sixth, 157; Jayden Smith, fourth, 174; Dayton Fields, seventh, 184; Colben Dodson, sixth, 197, and Dan Baker, sixth, 285.
Baker finished first in three of his four tournaments during the 2019 portion of the schedule.
He won the Drury Open in Springfield, Missouri; the Lindenwood Open in St Charles, Missouri, and the Oklahoma City University Open and third at the Grand View Open at Des Moines, Iowa.
Mascarenas, Smith and Dodson all have first-place finishes under their belts, Mascarenas and Smith at the Grand View Open and Dodson at Oklahoma City.