COUNCIL BLUFFS — It wasn’t a perfect day. But Iowa Western earned the next best thing Sunday, advancing nine of 10 wrestlers to the NJCAA national tournament later this month.
The Reivers (128.5 points) finished third at the nine-team North Central District, which Iowa Central (159) won after action concluded at IWCC’s Kanesville Arena.
Sixth-rated Colton Adams (141 pounds) and No. 4 Preston Lauterbach (174) won their weights while Oscar Ramirez (149) lost to Iowa Central’s No. 1 Ryne Cokeley of Iowa Central 13-8 in the championship bout.
Also qualifying for the national tourney was Printice Walls (125 pounds, fifth Sunday), Clay Stine (133, third), Chase Lemons (157, sixth), Jhalen Flanders (184, fourth), Luke Nohns (197, fourth) and Stephen Boone (285, fifth).
“I thought we could have gotten all 10 guys through,” IWCC coach Josh Watts said. “It didn’t work out, but nine out of 10 is alright.”
Adams enjoyed an especially big day, nabbing a 6-5 semifinal win over No. 8 and defending national champion Jason Alfau of Iowa Central before topping No. 2 Bobby Alexander of Ellsworth in the final.
Stine, Ramirez, Flanders and Nohns were all top-eight All-Americans a season ago when the Reivers qualified eight overall. This national meet is set for Feb. 26-27 at the Mid-America Center.
“I think we’ve still got some work to do,” Watts said. “We’ll see if the payoff comes in two weeks. The goal is to get as many guys as you can to nationals. We wanted to get a high number in and we were able to do that.”
Team scoring: Iowa Central 159, Ellsworth 153, Iowa Western 128.5, Iowa Lakes 122, North Iowa Area 110, Ridgewater 66.5, Itasca 28.5, Northland 28, Minnesota West 22.5.