MASON CITY, Iowa – NIACC will host the NJCAA North Central Regional District Wrestling Tournament on Saturday starting at 9 a.m.
The meet will have close to 80 wrestlers competing to qualify for the NJCAA National Championships in Rochester, Minnesota on February 24 and 25. The top-five finishers from each of the 10 weight classes will move on to the national championships.
“It’s going to be highly competitive and a good district to come out of,” NIACC coach Steve Kelly said about the North Central District. “Out of the 50 guys that qualify, usually 18 to 20 of them end up being All-Americans. So if you do well here, you’re going to be right up where you need to be at the national tournament.”
The district tournament will feature five schools from Iowa (NIACC, Ellsworth, Iowa Central, Iowa Western and Iowa Lakes) and four from Minnesota (Itasca Community College, RCTC, Ridgewater College and Minnesota West).
A total of 22 wrestlers that are ranked in the NJCAA polls are expected to wrestle at the tournament. The meet will have three ranked teams, spearheaded by No. 1 Iowa Central, who could send nine ranked wrestlers to the mat. NIACC, which is ranked No. 12, has the next most ranked wrestlers with four.
Iowa Lakes rounds out the ranked teams at No. 17. Itasca, Ridgewater, and RCTC are unranked, but all received votes in the latest polls.
The meet combines schools from Region XI, which is made up of Iowa schools, and Region XIII, which includes Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Only Minnesota schools have wrestling programs in Region XIII.
For those who cannot make it, there will be live look-ins of the district championships on NIACC Sports Net (NSN) at www.ihigh.com/niacctrojans.