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Brower’s finals pin gives Clackamas its third straight NJCAA team title, with Western Wyoming in second

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Zeth Brower of Clackamas celebrates after winning 133 pound NJCAA titleZeth Brower of Clackamas celebrates his victory by pin in the finals at 133 pounds. Video capture from FloWrestling broadcast

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Western Wyoming led returning champion Clackamas by one-half point going into the NJCAA championship finals on Thursday night. Clackamas had secured two finalists, while Western Wyoming had one.

Clackamas had to come right out of the gate, with their two finalists in the first two weight classes in matches against tough opponents from Pratt.

At 125 pounds, No. 1 seed and returning national champion Michael Spangler of Pratt came out strong, scoring a quick takedown and four-point turn for a 6-0 lead over No. 2 seed Cameron Enriquez of Clackamas. He added another takedown and turn for a 10-1 lead at the end of the first period. Spangler ended it with a hip toss for a takedown and two backpoints for a 18-2 technical fall early in the second period.

At 133 pounds, No. 1 seed Zeth Brower of Clackamas fell behind quickly, when No. 2 seed Jason Henschel of Pratt scored the first takedown. However, an escape and a takedown gave Brower the 3-2 lead after the first period. In the second period, Brower came out from the bottom with a reversal, getting Henschel on his back and securing a stunning pin at the 3:18 mark.

Brower’s pin moved Clackamas up to 152.5 points, a 5.5.-point lead over Western Wyoming. There was one chance for Western Wyoming to come back and win the title, with No. 3 seed Mason Christenson in the finals at 174 pounds.

Christenson drew No. 1 seed Jose Rodriguez of Iowa Central. Rodriguez scored a pair of low blast doubles to lead 4-1 at the end of the first period. In the second period, Rodriguez escaped, and later hit a double leg takedown, right to a four-point turn to lead 11-2. The third period included two more Rodriguez takedowns to make it 15-5. Rodriguez tossed Christenson to his back and secured the pin at 6:17.

The win by Rodriguez ended the team race, with Clackamas finishing 5.5 points ahead of Western Wyoming, which made an impressive run as a team both days. Western Wyoming finished with 10 All-Americans, with a runner-up, two third-place finishers, two fourth-place finishers, one sixth-place finisher, three seventh-place finishers and one eighth-place finisher.

Clackamas had eight All-Americans, with Brower as its champion, Enriquez as runner-up, four third-place finishers and two fifth-place finishers. It was the Cougars' third straight NJCAA national team title.

Rounding out the top five teams were third-place Iowa Central with 129 points, Pratt in fourth with 126.5 points and Northeastern Oklahoma in fifth with 125 points.

The only repeat national champion was No. 1 seed Isaiah Crosby of Iowa Western, who came out on fire and secured a 16-4 major decision over No. 3 seed Dayton Porsch of Pratt at 158 pounds. Crosby scored multiple takedowns and turns to secure an apparent 16-1 technical fall in the first period. A review of the final points out of bounds resulted in the score changing to 12-1. Porsch came back and slowed Crosby’s assault, but a third-period Crosby takedown and 2:17 in riding time gave him the final margin. Crosby won the 165-pound title last year.

Nine different teams had an individual champion. The only team with two champions was Northwest Kansas Tech.

At 141 pounds, freshman No. 11 seed Chinzorig Tsermaa of Northwest Kansas Tech put on a takedown clinic, in a 24-9 technical fall over No. 25 Bret Minor of Iowa Central. Tsermaa opened with a takedown and two backpoints to lead 4-0, then played let-him-up-take-him down with Minor. Tsermaa led 14-4 after the first period. In the second, he continued with dominance, tacking on numerous takedowns until he reached the 15-point margin of victory. Tsermaa was named Outstanding Wrestler in the tournament.

The final at 184 pounds was tied at 2-2 in the third period, but a pair of late takedowns gave No. 5 seed Jacari Deal of Northwest Kansas Tech a 7-4 win over No. 2 Gavin Christofferson of RCTC.

No. 2 seed Sal Silva of North Idaho used a second-period takedown and 2:47 of riding time to defeat No. 1 seed and returning national champion Jacob Beeson of Pratt in the 149 pound finals. There was no first-period scoring, but Silva got his clutch takedown in the second period, then rode Beeson the rest of the period and much of the third period. A late Beeson escape was not enough. Silva was third in the 2020 NJCAA Nationals.

At 165 pounds, top-seeded Christian Minto of NIACC got off to a strong start and kept on the pressure in a 13-6 win over No. 11 Keaton Geerts of Iowa Central. Two takedowns and a four-point turn gave Minto an 8-2 lead after the first period. In the next two periods, Geertz closed the lead to 10-6, but a late Minto takedown and riding time gave him the margin of victory.

Claiming the 197-pound title was No. 3 seed Zach Ferris of Cloud who edged No. 12 Jose Valdez of NIACC, 3-2 in tiebreaker two. Each wrestler had an escape in regulation. There were no takedowns in sudden victory. Valdez had an escape to make it 2-1. Ferris got up to his feet from bottom and Valdez held his leg, and was twice penalized a point from that position.

The heavyweight title went also went overtime, as No. 2 Mitchell Williamson of Iowa Lakes defeated No. 12 Jorden Pryor of Iowa Central, 3-1 in sudden victory. Both wrestlers got escapes in regulation. Williamson got behind Pryor in the closing seconds of sudden victory and got him to the mat for the winning takedown and the national title.

At Council Bluffs, Iowa

125 lbs.
1st - No. 1 Michael Spangler (Pratt) tech. fall No. 2 Cameron Enriquez (Clackamas), 18-2 4:22
3rd Garrett Ricks (Western Wyoming) DEC Aidan Harris (Iowa Central), 9-3
5th Chris Busutil (Indian Hills) F Aseel Almudhala (Henry Ford), 2:41
7th Andres Russi (Joliet) F Riley Weir (Labette), 1:56

133 lbs.
1st- No. 1 Zeth Brower (Clackamas) pin No. 3 Jason Henschel (Pratt), 3:18
3rd Parker Dobrocky (Rctc) DEC Caleb Meekins (Indian Hills), 5-3
5th James Davis (Cloud) M FOR Ryan Smith (Cowley), 10-0 3:54
7th Destin Summers (Western Wyoming) F Marquis Kemp (Otero), 6:56

141 lbs.
1st- No. 11 Chinzorig Tsermaa (Northwest Kansas Tech) tech. fall No. 25 Bret Minor (Iowa Central), 24-9 4:53
3rd Marckis Branford (Clackamas) F Caleb Nathan (Western Wyoming), 3:51
5th Creighton Baughman (Iowa Western) F Blake Gonzalez (Northeastern Oklahoma), 2:01
7th Victor Guzman (Indian Hills) DEC Jacob Mitchell (Pratt), 11-10

149 lbs.
1st- No. 2 Sal Silva (North Idaho) dec. No. 1 Jacob Beeson (Pratt), 3-1
3rd Deville Dentis (Clackamas) F Alex Young (Labette), 6:45
5th Dylan Brown (Northeastern Oklahoma) M FOR Malik Johnson (Cowley), 0:00
7th Cameron Metcalf (Western Wyoming) MD Nathan Lendt (Ellsworth), 11-3

157 lbs.
1st - No. 1 Isaiah Crosby (Iowa Western) tech. fall No. 3 Dayton Porsch (Pratt), 16-4
3rd Anthony Herrera (Western Wyoming) DEC Chinges Tsermaa (Northwest Kansas Tech), 4-2 SV
5th Trent Silva (Clackamas) DEC Brandon Bollinger (North Idaho), 9-8
7th Josh Parks (Northeastern Oklahoma) F Jake Patterson (Cowley), 1:42

165 lbs.
1st - No. 1 Christian Minto (NIACC) dec. No. 11 Keaton Geerts (Iowa Central), 13-6
3rd Seth Brossard (RCTC) DEC Austin Raby (Southwestern Oregon), 15-13 SV
5th Fabian Padilla (Iowa Western) DEC Collin Smith (Western Wyoming), 4-1
7th Weston Presser (North Idaho) TF Tyson Villalpando (Neosho), 16-1 4:05

174 lbs.
1st - No. 1 Jose Rodriquez (Iowa Central) pin No. 3 Mason Christiansen (Western Wyoming), 6:17
3rd Dax Bennett (Clackamas) DEC Navarro Nanpuya (North Idaho), 14-12 SV
5th Dayton Fields (Northeastern Oklahoma) DEC Jacobi Deal (Northwest Kansas Tech), 7-3
7th Massoma Endene (Iowa Lakes) DEC Wyatt Simon (Rctc), 7-0

184 lbs.
1st – No. 5 Jacari Deal (Northwest Kansas Tech) dec. No. 2 Gavin Christofferson (RCTC), 7-4
3rd Deron Pulliam (Indian Hills) DEC Jackson White (Northeastern Oklahoma), 5-2
5th Michael Gasper (Clackamas) M FOR Jaden Roberts (Rowan), 0-0 0:00
7th Andrew Nicholson (Western Wyoming) DEC Deston Miller (Pratt), 6-4

197 lbs.
1st - No. 3 Zach Ferris (Cloud) dec. No. 12 Jose Valdez (NIACC), 3-2 TB2
3rd Tarik Sutkovic (Clackamas) DEC Tyler Scheurn (Western Wyoming), 6-3
5th Josh Mcfarland (Iowa Western) DEC Seth Sarasua (Northeastern Oklahoma), 3-2
7th Khris Walton (Indian Hills) DEC Ryan Murphy (Neosho), 4-2

285 lbs.
1st - No. 2 Mitchell Williamson (Iowa Lakes) dec. No. 12 Jorden Pryor (Iowa Central), 3-1 SV
3rd Dan Baker (Northeastern Oklahoma) F Cohle Feliciano (North Idaho), 1:21
5th Devon Dawson (Pratt) F Curtis Ruff (Triton), 6:28
7th Jared Roehl (Mott) F Wyatt Kearn (Western Wyoming), 1:29

Championship awards

Bruce Traphagen Award (Most Falls in Least Amount of Time): Dan Baker, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.

Ernest B. Gould Outstanding Wrestler (Most Outstanding Wrestler, as voted by tournament coaches): Chinzorig Tsermaa, Northwest Kansas Tech.

Joseph A. Rockenback Sportsmanship Award (As voted by tournament coaches): Jacob Beeson, Pratt.

NJCAA Scholarship Coach of the Year (Presented to the head coach of the highest-scoring scholarship team): Art Castillo, Western Wyoming.

NJCAA Non-Scholarship Coach of the Year (Presented to the head coach of the highest-scoring non-scholarship team): Travis Rutt, Rochester (MN).

NJCAA Wrestling Coaches Association Man of the Year (as voted by member coaches): Cody Alesch, Iowa Lakes.

Team Standings

1 Clackamas 152.5
2 Western Wyoming 147
3 Iowa Central 129
4 Pratt 126.5
5 Northeastern Oklahoma 125
6 North Idaho 92.5
7 Northwest Kansas Tech 81.5
8 Indian Hills 81
9 Iowa Western 80
10 RCTC 79
11 Cloud 59
12 Niacc 57
13 Cowley 46.5
14 Labette 44
15 Southwestern Oregon 41.5
16 Iowa Lakes 39.5
17 Jamestown CC 30
18 Triton 29
19 Neosho 26
19 Niagara 26
21 Muskegon 23
22 Henry Ford 21.5
22 Mott 21.5-
24 Rowan 21-
25 Barton 19.5
(of 38 teams)
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