Grizzlies Qualify Four Grapplers for NCAA’s, Move Up Four Places

Chris Day
ASC Sports Information

Four of the six Adams State College wrestlers that were still alive after the first day of the NCAA Division II Super Regional Four/Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships safely qualified for the upcoming NCAA Division II National Championships while the Grizzlies moved up four spots to finish fifth in the final team standings at the 2-day tournament, which wrapped up Sunday evening here in San Francisco State University’s Main Gymnasium.
The Grizzlies were paced by juniors Kenny Jordan and Luke McPeek, who each went 2-0 on the day to take third place at 149 and 197 pounds, respectively.  True freshman Jerry Huff and redshirt freshman Justin Samora also qualified for the Mar. 11 and 12 national tournament in Kearney, Neb. by finishing fourth at 125 and 157 pounds, respectively.
Junior Josh Hensley and sophomore Taylor Stam were not as lucky as each took sixth while falling short of national tournament spots, which went to the top four finishers in each weight class.
The University of Nebraska-Kearney Lopers won their eighth team title in the last 10 years as they had three individual champions and six national qualifiers while scoring 127 ½ team points.  Western State, which had won the last two team titles, had four individual champions and five national qualifiers while finishing with 120 points.  Associate RMAC member Grand Canyon (Ariz.) took third, their best ever finish, with 117 points but qualified a tournament most seven men for nationals.
The Grizzlies, who had stood ninth after Saturday’s action, finished with 67 ½ points, just one place behind the host Gators (97) and ahead of Chadron State (64). Jordan, who saw his team-leading 13-match winning streak snapped by eventual champion and RMAC Wrestler of the Year TJ Hepburn of Nebraska-Kearney in Saturday’s semifinal round, bounced back strongly on Sunday recording a pair of major decision wins, his team-leading 10th and 11th of the year.
Jordan, who will go into the national tournament with a 22-3 record, defeated Western State’s Brandon Montoya in the consolation semifinals and then took out San Francisco State’s Matt Thomas by a 12-3 major decision margin in the third place match.  Jordan had also pinned Thomas in the championship quarterfinals on Saturday.
Meanwhile, McPeek raised his record to 24-6 while earning his second career national tournament appearance.
He claimed a hard-fought 15-13 double-overtime win over Chris Leak of Chadron State in the consolation semifinals and then bested Mesa State’s Shane Miller by an 11-6 margin to claim third.  McPeek had taken fourth at the 2009 edition of the tournament while wrestling for New Mexico Highlands and went on to earn all-America honors with a seventh place finish at the national tournament that year.
Meanwhile, Huff booked his trip to nationals with a first-period pin of Nebraska-Kearney’s Josh Smith in the consolation semifinals.  Smith was seeded second in the tournament and bounced back to finish fifth.  He also entered the weekend ranked eighth in the nation but will not be going to the national tournament thanks to Huff.
Huff, now 10-12 on the season, did drop a 2-0 decision to San Francisco State’s Pierre Bondoc in the third place match.  Bondoc was the only man to defeat Huff at the tournament.
Samora took a similar path to nationals as he pinned Mesa State’s Jon Gappmaier at the 6:21 mark of the consolation semifinals before dropping a 4-0 decision to Grand Canyon’s Ted Bristol in the third place match.  Samora is now 16-12 on the year.
Hensley faced a tough challenge in his match and dropped a 12-5 decision to Kyle Wilson of Grand Canyon.  Hensley, who had been out nearly two months with a knee injury before resuming his season at the tournament, then injury defaulted his fifth place match, which even if he would have won, would not have allowed him to qualify for the national tournament.  Hensley, a 2-time national qualifier and 2010 All-American, finished his injury plagued year with a 14-8 record.
Meanwhile, Stam finished the campaign with a 13-17 mark after dropping 7-4 and 4-2 decisions to Patrick Carey of Colorado State-Pueblo and Justin Glenn of Fort Hays State, respectively. is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet