April 21st, 2021
Villa, Korenoski, Tueguo each win twice at NJCAA national wrestling tournament
Weinell, Hefley each notch one victory in Lakers’ 3rd trip to nationals
Council Bluffs, Ia. – Three Garrett College wrestlers won a pair of matches Wednesday in the NJCAA national tournament, finishing 2-2 in their respective weight classes.
Noah Korenoski (157 pounds), Loic Tueguo (197), and Brady Villa (141) each reached the consolation quarterfinals before being eliminated. Korenoski and Tueguo each won once in the main draw and one in the consolation bracket.
Villa, who lost his first match in the main draw, won twice in the consolation bracket.
Trey Weinell (149) and Justice Hefley (165) each went 1-2 for the Lakers in their respective draws.
Garrett College qualified 10 wrestlers – nine of them freshmen – for the national tournament.
"Competing on the national stage as freshmen shows our guys the level they need to prepare at to compete here," said Lakers head coach John Chambers, who started the GC wrestling program in 2018. "As a coach, I can talk about how tough and physical this tournament is, but until they actually experience the level of difficulty it’s an unknown for them.
"I’m expecting to see even better results next year from the freshmen who went to nationals this year," added Chambers. "They know what to expect. Loic went 0-2 last year at nationals and went out in the Round of 16 this year."
The eighth-seeded Korenoski defeated Umpqua Community College’s Sergio Cruz, 13-8, in the preliminary round of the 157-pound bracket. Northeastern Oklahoma’s Josh Parks topped Korenoski, 6-0, to drop the Laker into the consolation bracket.
Korenoski then edged seventh-seeded David Crow, 4-3, executing the match-winning takedown with 13 seconds remaining. Crow led, 3-1, entering the third period, but a Korenoski escape with 53 seconds remaining set the stage for the frantic finish.
"Weinell had wrestled Crow twice this year," said Chambers. "We knew coming in that Korenoski would be a better match up at 157.
"Korenoski is a grinder and wrestles until the end," continued Chambers. "Once Korenoski got the escape [to pull within 3-2], you just felt the momentum change and he would not be denied the win. What a match!"
Korenoski was then upset by Northwest Kansas Tech’s 16th-seeded Chinges Tsermaa, 16-7.
Garrett’s 23rd-seeded Tueguo stunned 10th-seeded Tristen Wilson of Rochester Community and Technical College, 8-3, in a preliminary-round match at 197 pounds before losing to Seth Sarasua of Northeastern Oklahoma, 18-4.
Tueguo upset eight-seeded Lance Wagner of Minnesota West Community and Technical College, winning by pin in 28 seconds. Southwest Oregon’s Cameron Bauman then pinned Tueguo in 1:26 in a consolation quarterfinal.
Iowa Central Community College’s Bret Minor, seeded 25th, upset the eighth-seeded Villa, 11-3, in a 141-pound preliminary-round match to drop Villa into the consolation bracket.
Villa won twice in the consolation bracket, defeating Labette Community College’s Cade Wathke, 9-4, and edging Cowley College’s Brayden Strachan, 3-2, to reach the consolation quarterfinals.
"Brady Villa is such a technical wrestler," observed Chambers. "Strachan was a tough match for Brady because the guy was 6'3" and was unorthodox, but Villa battled and never quit."
In the consolation quarters, Northern Iowa Area Community College’s Quentrevion Campbell eliminated Villa, 12-6.
Weinell was pinned by Ellsworth Community College’s Nathan Lendt in his 149-pound opener, but then defeated Logan Robb of Otero Junior College, 9-5, in the consolation bracket. Rowan College South Jersey’s Nic Carrero eliminated Weinell, 8-5, in the next round.
Hefley defeated St. Clair Community College’s Sean Kreda, 14-5, before getting pined by fourth-seeded Collin Smith of Western Wyoming.
Hefley then dropped a 3-1 decision to Cowley Community College’s Montez Robinson. Robinson, nursing a 1-0 lead, took Hefley down with 14 seconds remaining to seal his win.
Brandan Myers (125), Esdras Castillo (133), and Declan McCann (184) each went 0-2 as the Lakers finished a cumulative 8-16 in national tournament matches. The Lakers have qualified 21 wrestlers for nationals during the program’s three-year history, with this year’s accomplishments attained despite an ongoing pandemic.
"This season was the toughest season I have been associated with as we worked through all the challenges with COVID," said Chambers. "The amount of work and sacrifices our wrestlers had to make to be able to compete was extraordinary."
Chambers thanked his family – wife Tonya and his children, Lily and Jacob – for their "understanding of my long hours during the season." He also expressed his gratitude for the college-wide support the wrestling program received, noting especially the COVID-mitigation support received from Director of Equity and Compliance Shelley Menear and athletic trainers Liz Show and Britta Lais, who provided "relentless dedication to our student athletes."
The most up-to-date information on Garrett College’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), can be found online at https://www.garrettcollege.edu/corona-virus.php.