The Minnesota College Athletic Conference wrestling season is set to open up on Saturday, November 2 with five collegiate programs across the state looking to earn a place at the NJCAA National Wrestling National Championships this spring. Headlining early-season competitions is the RCTC Yellowjacket Open which will provide fans, families and followers of wrestling in the MCAC a first look at perennial national power Rochester Community & Technical College.
The Rochester Community & Technical College Yellowjackets are the defending MCAC champions and saw six of their student-athletes wrestle their way to the 2018-19 NJCAA National Championships last March. Veteran head coach Randy Rager will look to replace several standouts this year, including Shane Siewert (Lake City, MN) who was dominant in the 174 lb. weight class for Rochester and Alex Pierre, who wrestled at 184. Read more on Yellowjacket mentor Rager at this link. RCTC rolls out a 2019-20 roster with 28 student-athletes; Rochester will serve as host to the Yellowjacket Open on Saturday, November 2 and the MCAC Conference Dual Championship on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. The 2018-19 edition of RCTC wrestling captured the NJCAA North District Tournament title on 80.5 points.
For more on wrestling at RCTC, go to: http://www.rctcyellowjackets.com/sports/wrest/index
Itasca Community College - site of the 2019-20 MCAC / Great Plains District Tournament - heads into this season with new leadership. Former NCAA Division I wrestler Joe Umlauf was tapped to lead the Vikings over the summer and brings a wealth of experience to Grand Rapids. Umlauf competed for North Dakota State University at the 141, 149 and 157 weight classes over his career with the Bison. CLICK HERE for more on the new ICC coach in a MCAC press release from this past summer. Over the years, Itasca has earned a team National Championship and produced 52 NJCAA All-America wrestlers. In 2019-20, Itasca will feature a squad of 19 student-athletes, with a diverse roster showing wrestlers from Hawaii, Alberta, Arizona and Washington D.C., as well as 13 athletes from Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Vikings will get their first taste of competition at the Dragon Open in Moorhead, Minnesota on December 8. Itasca has sights set on surpassing it's 2018-19 tournament second place finish, where they accumulated 57 points as a team.
To learn more about the wrestling program at Itasca Community College, please visit: https://www.itascacc.edu/athletics/wrestling/
Minnesota West Community & Technical College also has a new face on the sideline in 2019-20; veteran head coach Randy Baker comes to Worthington with experience at the high school, two-year college and four-year university levels. Baker twice qualified for the NJCAA national championships as a Blue Jay and completed his collegiate athletic career at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD. He began his coaching career at Augustana as a graduate assistant coach under Paul Kendle. Read more about Randy Baker at this link. On the mat, the Blue Jays feature a 15-man squad this season, with a balanced mix of student-athletes with a core group of eight Minnesota-based grapplers as well as several from Louisiana, Georgia and Arizona. MnWest will look to build on their 2018-19 season in which they qualified three student-athletes for the NJCAA National Championships; as a team, Minnesota West finished 4th in the NJCAA North District Tournament last season.
The Blue Jay Wrestling roster, schedule and more is at: https://www.mnwestathletics.com/sports/wrest/index
Northland Community & Technical College is led again this season by Scott DCamp and will feature twenty Pioneers on the mats this winter. DCamp was tabbed with reinstating the program in 2013; DCamp was a standout at Minnesota State-Moorhead and is a Buffalo, Minnesota product. Northland will get their first taste of MCAC competition when they host Minnesota West for a dual meet on Friday, November 15. DCamp and his squad will also take part in the NWCA Multi-Division National Dual competition in Louisville, Kentucky, starting on Friday, January 10, 2020. One of several key wrestlers that NCTC will look to replace this season is Rees Lehman, who signed with Dakota Wesleyan University last spring. The Pioneers will feature two-sport standout Andrew Baguma, who competes for Northland in both football and wrestling; the Fargo, North Dakota sophomore will wrestle at the 285lbs Division this season.
The Pioneer Wrestling home page is at: https://northlandpioneers.com/sports/wrestling
Ridgewater College will open their season on November 16 when they travel to Moorhead, Minnesota to take part in the Concordia Open. Later this month, head coach Jair Toedter will see his squad compete at the Augsburg Invite on November 23; the Warriors also host the Ridgewater Open on January 11. Ridgewater boasts a strong history in wrestling, with four National Champions among it's alumni, including Josh Janousek in 2003. Warrior Mark Voss claimed NJCAA All-America honors in 2018, while Travis Peralta was the most recent Ridgewater two-time All-America, earning back-to-back honors in 2010 & 2011. Since 1965, Ridgewater College has produced over 75 NJCAA All-America wrestlers. The 2019-20 Ridgewater team features an all-Minnesota roster competing on the Willmar campus; Jacob Revier earned a trip to the NJCAA National Championship last year at the 157lbs Division.
Ridgewater College wrestling is found at: https://www.ridgewater.edu/athletics/mens-sports/mens-wrestling/
The Minnesota College Athletic Conference recognizes an Athlete-of-the-Week in Wrestling; each week, beginning Friday, 11/8, look for the MCAC honors posted on Facebook and Twitter and the MCAC Wrestling page at: https://www.mcacsports.org/sports/wrest/index
The NJCAA Wrestling page, including National Championship information, is at: https://www.njcaa.org/sports/wrest/index
The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is the organizational body for NJCAA-affiliated two-year technical and community college athletic programs in the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, as well as select member colleges in North Dakota and Wisconsin. The mission of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is to advance intercollegiate athletics by providing an engaging and supportive environment for success of our student athletes and competition among member institutions. The MCAC is committed to the guiding principles of encouraging the development and success of student athletes, promoting the integrity, honesty and loyalty to member schools as well as upholding the sustainability of conference athletic programs.
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