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JUCO Wrestling: NIACC wins district mat title

Photo: Courtesy of Indian Hills … Christian Mint battles in his 165-pound district title match.

CENTERVILLE – The NIACC wrestling team made history Sunday afternoon.

The seventh-ranked Trojans claimed the NJCAA North Central District Tournament title with 125 points at the Lakeview Elementary gym. Iowa Central was second with 122 points and Iowa Western was third with 116.5 points.

“It feels great,” said 13th year NIACC coach Steve Kelly, who was selected as the NJCAA North Central District coach of the year. “This is the first time we’ve won it. It’s such a quality tournament. It’s tough to win our district. I don’t care what sport you’re talking about. It’s fun to win it.”

It was the first district title for the Trojans since the school brought back the sport of wrestling in 2008. The Trojans placed second at the district tournament in 2015 and were also runner-up in 2009.

The last district title for a NIACC wrestling team was in the 1972 season when the Trojans claimed what was then called a regional title.

NIACC crowned three individual district champions on Sunday to help lead the Trojans to the team title. Quentrevion Campbell (141), Christian Minto (165) and Jose Valdez (197) all repeated as district champions.

Minto, actually, became an extremely rare three-time district champion by pinning Ellsworth’s Khaitov Mirzo in 6 minutes, 57 seconds in the finals. For the third straight season, Minto was selected as the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler.

Campbell doubled up Iowa Western’s Creighton Baughman 8-4 in the 141-pound title match and Valdez edged Iowa Lakes’ Massoma Endene 5-2 in the 197-pound title bout.

The Trojans also received second-place finishes from Cruz Aguilar (125), Clarence Lee-Green (133) and Deville Dentis (149) and a third-place finish from Chase McCleish (184).

NIACC’s Ein Carlos (174) placed fourth and Josh Barretta (157) and Jaylin Smith (285) placed fifth.

“It was a total team effort,” Kelly said. “It was fun to watch. Every point mattered.”

In the district title match, the top-ranked Minto (11-0) led the ninth-ranked Mirzo 6-4 and pinned him with three seconds remaining in the match. It was the third victory this season for Minto over Mirzo. Minto, who has a career record of 46-1, moved to the finals on Sunday when Iowa Lakes’ Dominique Johnson injury defaulted.

Minto won the 2020 district title with a 9-6 win over Iowa Central’s Ashton Eyler. Minto earned the 2021 district title with a 21-2 technical fall over Indian Hills’ Neal Larson.

“That kid has high expectations,” Kelly said of Minto, who is top-ranked and is the defending national champion at 165 pounds. “He’s a stud. He loves to compete. It doesn’t matter if it’s kick ball, speed ball or dodge ball. He’s so competitive.”

In the 141-pound title match, Campbell, who is unranked, topped Iowa Western’s fifth-ranked Creighton Baughman 8-4 for his second straight district title. The match was tied 3-3 heading into the third period but Campbell (10-1) outscored Baughman 5-1 in the final stanza.

“He’s just got to put it together here in the next couple of weeks,” Kelly said of Campbell making a run at the national tournament. “He’s right there.”

Campbell topped Indian Hills’ Victor Guzman 6-3 to win his 2021 district title.

In the 197-pound title match, the second-ranked Valdez (12-0) edged Iowa Lakes’ top-ranked Massoma Endene, 5-2. The score was tied 2-2 after two periods and Valdez gained an early escape in the third period to take a 3-2 lead and sealed his second straight district title with a late third-period takedown.

It was Valdez’ second win this season over Endene. Valdez topped Endene 2-1 during the dual-meet season. Valdez advanced to the title match with a 23-7 technical fall over Iowa Western’s Michael Aguirre.

Valdez and Endene could meet again for third time at the national tournament.

“No question about it,” Kelly said. “That kid (Endene) is tough.”

Valdez claimed his 2021 district title with a narrow 3-2 win over Indian Hills’ Khris Walton.

In the true second-place match, Aguilar (9-5) topped Iowa Central’s Aiden Harris 7-6. Aguilar gained a chance to wrestle for true second with a 43-second pin over Ellsworth’s Kaden Karns in his third-place match.

In the 133-pound title match, Indian Hills’ top-ranked Caleb Meekins took a 10-5 decision from NIACC’s ninth-ranked Lee-Green (12-6). Lee-Green advanced to the finals with a 5-4 win over Iowa Western’s Camden Russell.

In the 149-pound title match, Iowa Central’s third-ranked Keaton Geerts pinned NIACC’s fifth-ranked Dentis in 3 minutes, 21 seconds. Dentis (10-4) moved to the finals with a 4-2 win over Ellsworth’s fourth-ranked Nathan Lendt.’

In the 184-pound third place match, NIACC’s seventh-ranked McCleish (16-5) pinned Iowa Central’s Coleton McElliott in overtime – 7:35.

In the 157-pound fifth-place match, NIACC’s Barretta (3-5) edged Iowa Lakes’ Cael Langford, 2-0. In the 285-pound fifth-place match, NIACC’s Smith (8-10) nipped Ellsworth’s Larry Everfield, 2-1.

The NJCAA Division I national tournament is set for March 4-5 in Council Bluffs.

“This (the district title) is definitely something we can build on,” Kelly said.

NIACC’s first-round results

125 – Cruz Aguilar pinned Kaden Karns (Ellsworth), :34
133 – Clarence Lee-Green major dec. Davian Gowens (Iowa Central), 11-2.
141 – Quentrevion Campbell received a first-round bye.
149 – Deville Dentis major dec. Kruise Kiburz (Iowa Western), 8-0.
157 – Diego Isiordia (Ellsworth) major dec. Josh Barretta (N), 15-6.
165 – Christian Minto received a first-round bye.
174 – Ein Carlos pinned Nolan Craine (Ellsworth), 2:23.
184 – Chase McCleish dec. John Colburne (Iowa Lakes), 8-2.
197 – Jose Valdez received a first-round bye.
285 – Trent Strong (Iowa Western) dec. Jaylin Smith (N), 1-0.

NIACC’s semifinal results

125 – Jakason Burks (Iowa Western) dec. Aguilar, 6-3.
133 – Lee-Green (N) dec. Camden Russell (Iowa Western), 5-4
141 – Campbell (N) dec. Darnai Heard (Iowa Central), 8-3.
149 – Dentis (N) dec. Nathan Lendt (Ellsworth), 4-2.
165 – Minto (N) won by injury default over Dominique Johnson (Iowa Lakes)
174 – Jose Rodriguez (Iowa Central) won by injury default over Carlos (N).
184 – Josh McFarland (Iowa Western) dec. McCleish (N), 7-2.
197 – Valdez (N) tech. fall Michael Aguirre (Iowa Western), 23-7.

NIACC’S title matches

133 – Caleb Meekins (Indian Hills) dec. Lee-Green, 10-5.
141 – Campbell dec. Creighton Baughman (Iowa Western), 8-4.
149 – Keaton Geerts (Iowa Central) pinned Dentis, 3:21.
165 – Minto pinned Khaitov Mirzo (Ellsworth), 6:57.
197 – Valdez dec. Massoma Endene (Iowa Lakes), 5-2.

NIACC’s consolation matches

157 – Destin Jones (Indian Hills)v dec. Barretta, 9-7.
174 – Carlos major dec. Caden Mumme (Iowa Lakes), 15-1.
184 – McCleish dec. Ethan Miller (Ellsworth), 7-4.
285 – Jacob Rahn (Iowa Lakes) dec. Smith, 2-0.

NIACC’s third-place matches

125 – Aguilar pinned Karns (Ellsworth), :43.
174 – Jacob Anderson (Indian Hills) won by forfeit over Carlos.
184 – McCleish pinned Coleton McElliott (Iowa Central), 7:35.
NIACC’s fifth-place matches
157 – Barretta dec. Cael Langford (Iowa Lakes), 2-0.
285 – Smith dec. Larry Everfield (Ellsworth), 2-1.
NIACC wrestlebacks for second
125 – Aguilar dec. Aiden Harris (Iowa Central), 7-6.
133 – Lee-Green won by no contest over Russell (Iowa Western) to place second.

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