March 9th, 2020
GC's Clark wins three matches at nationals
Five Lakers combine for 5-10 mark against stacked field
Council Bluffs, Iowa – Tanner Clark reached the Round of 16 in the championship draw of the 285-pound division while posting a 3-2 record to highlight Garrett College's performance Friday and Saturday at the NJCAA national wrestling championships.
GC's Austin Dyson (165 pounds) and Davy Mundey (174 pounds) each notched one consolation-bracket victory as five Laker national tournament qualifiers combined for a 5-10 overall record against stiff competition.
"The competition at the national tournament is just unreal," said GC head coach John Chambers, who has qualified 11 wrestlers for nationals during the two years the Lakers have fielded a wrestling program. "Even winning a few matches at the national tournament is a compliment to our guys – the dedication and the hard work they've put in."
Clackamas (Ore.) Community College won its second straight national team championship as Jason Shaner won the 133-pound individual title and two other Cougars made it to the national finals in their respective weight classes. Clackamas – which has won three national team championships since 2011 – finished with 133.5 points to 108.5 for runner-up Northeastern Oklahoma A & M.
The sixth-seeded Clark defeated Darren Harvey of Arkansas Baptist College, 6-5, in a tough first-round match.
Clark used a pair of takedowns to build a 4-1 lead, but Harvey's second escape pulled him within 4-2 after one period. Harvey took down Clark to tie the match at 4-4, but Clark escaped to take a 5-4 lead into the final period.
Harvey again tied the match, this time with a third-period escape, but Clark was awarded the winning point for riding time as the match concluded.
Ellsworth (Iowa) Community College's 11th-seeded Darrell Mason then had nine takedowns in a 21-8 major decision over Clark in the Round of 16. Four of those takedowns came in the opening period as Mason built an 8-4 cushion that expanded to 16-6 after two periods.
Mason – who would have been seeded much higher except for an upset loss in his district tournament – eventually finished as the 285-pound national runner-up.
Clark rebounded to win twice in the consolation bracket. He downed Joliet (Ill.) College's Anthony Munoz, 7-3, and pinned John Noll of Rochester (Minn.) Community and Technical College before dropping a 5-2 decision to Garrett Clark of Ancilla (Ind.) College.
Tanner Clark took a 1-0 lead into the third period before Garrett Clark executed a match-tying reverse. Garrett Clark's takedown with 22 seconds remaining, following by a pair of points for a near fall, gave him the win.
Tanner Clark, who made it to the Round of 16 at 197 pounds last year, finishes ninth in the final 285-pound national rankings this year despite weighing in at just 216 pounds for the national tournament.
"Tanner gave up 50 to 75 pounds every match he wrestled," noted Chambers. "That just proves Tanner's strength and technical ability on the mat, as well as how much effort he puts into his craft."
Dyson was pinned by Nassau (NY) Community College's ninth-seeded Paul Illicete at 1:09 of the first period in the first round of the 165-pound championship bracket. Dyson rebounded to beat Kody Hahn of Colby (Kan.) Community College, 7-3, in his first consolation match, breaking a 2-2 tie with a late, second-period takedown.
Hahn used a third-period escape to pull within 4-3, but Dyson wrapped up the win with a takedown in the final minute of the match.
Nicholas White of Triton (Ill.) College defeated Dyson in his next consolation match, 9-7, using a takedown with 25 seconds remaining to break a 6-6 tie.
"Austin wrestled well," said Chambers. "And he's been such a great wrestler for us. Austin is the perfect example of the kind of wrestler we want to recruit."
Mundey dropped a 9-2 decision to 12th-seeded Tyson Villalpando of Neosho (Kan.) Community College in his first-round, championship-bracket match. Mundey only trailed, 4-1, heading to the third period before Villalpando pulled away.
Mundey blanked Michael Schneider of Camden (NJ) County College, 9-0, in a major decision in his first consolation match, but then lost a 14-3 major decision to Dax Bennett of Clackamas (Ore.) Community College in the next round of the consolation bracket.
"Davy was the most decorated recruit we had with the first recruiting class," said Chambers. "He's been dealing with some injuries over the last few weeks and, while he would never use that as an excuse, it affected his wrestling."
Laker 184-pounder Garrett Beaulieu dropped a 9-1 major decision to Nassau's fourth-seeded Adolfo Batiste in his first-round match. Beaulieu trailed only 2-0 after the first period, but Batiste dominated the second period to build a 6-0 lead.
Triton's Shamar Pugh pinned Beaulieu in the first period of their consolation-bracket match, drawing to a close a JuCo career in which Beaulieu showed dramatic improvement from his freshman to sophomore seasons.
"It was awesome to see a local guy from Northern Garrett work hard for two years and develop into the type of wrestler who could qualify for the national tournament," Chambers said of Beaulieu.
Garrett 197-pounder Loic Tueguo – the only freshman Laker to go to nationals this year – was pinned by Rochester's Richard Hammonds in the second period after the third-seeded Hammonds had built a 9-2 lead. Muskegon (Mich.) Community College's Jake Renfer pinned Tueguo in the first period of their consolation bout.
"Loic had a fantastic year, hitting the 20-win plateau, and has such a high ceiling for next year," said Chambers.
Chambers and assistant coach Tanner Cahill are now heavily recruiting for Year 3 after the wrestling program exceeded all expectations over its first two seasons.
"It's a compliment to all of the guys who started this program with us over the last two years," said Chambers. "I want to thank the sophomores for coming here and taking a chance on a new wrestling program. They laid the groundwork for our program going forward."