(Neb)-Eagle Wrestlers At RMAC Tourney This Weekend
CHADRON - Chadron State College wrestlers head to Colorado Springs this weekend to enter the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships, held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center for the third consecutive year.
Competition in the one-day, Saturday tournament will be fierce, since the RMAC is home to programs currently ranked No. 5, No. 9, No. 15, and No. 21 in NCAA Division II.
The preliminary rounds begin at 9 a.m., with the finalists scheduled to square off at 4 p.m.
Chadron State is set to enter nine of the 10 weight class brackets, with an open spot at 197 pounds.
Marcus Hutcherson, the Eagles' 125-pounder, is 0-2 against tournament competition. Awaiting him are Adams State University's No. 7-ranked Darek Huff, who he faced off with last week in Chadron, and No. 8 Trent Piatt of Western State Colorado University.
At 133 pounds, Chance Karst has seen only two competitors, losing by a combined three points to his most recent two opponents from New Mexico Highlands University and Adams. Colorado State University-Pueblo's Paul Garcia, ranked seventh in Division II, is the only ranked opponent in the bracket.
CSC's 141-pound entry is expected to be Brock Thumm, who has apparently recovered from an ailment which hospitalized him last week. Although Thumm is 4-1 overall in conference, he will only see Colorado Mesa University's William Moss, who deated Thumm 4-3 in a December dual, this weekend.
Jacob DeSersa will enter for the Eagles at 149 pounds. His last two battles against former NCAA qualifier Reis Humphrey of Highlands, and No. 5-ranked Natrelle Demison, were his only encounters so far with tourney foes. Both were three-point decisions, in favor of DeSersa's opponents, in home duals.
Jacob Otuafi is CSC's entry at 157 pounds, where he is 2-1 against the field, all three matches occurring in the Eagles' three home duals. Colorado Mesa's Payton Tawater, ranked fourth in the nation, did not compete during the Mavericks' home dual in December.
At 165 pounds, Chadron State's Johnny Porter faces one of the tougher fields at the meet, featuring three former NCAA qualifiers including No. 2 Jacobi Jones of CSU-Pueblo, and California Baptist University's Christian Smith, ranked fourth. Both of Porter's losses to tourney opponents were close calls, with a 2-1 loss in the dual at Western State, and an overtime fall at home against Adams State.
Heber Shepherd will wrestle for the Eagles at 174, another bracket sure to be hotly contested. The three former NCAA qualifiers include No. 2 Nolan Kistler of Cal Baptist, No. 5 Brandon Supernaw, of Western State, and Colorado Mesa's Bruno Nicoletti, who was ranked in the preseason. Shepherd is 0-5 against the field, with two of his matches going to overtime.
Chadron State's 184-pounder is true freshman Devin Stork, who is 1-2 against the tournament entrants. He has faced neither JaVaughn Perkins of CSU-Pueblo, who is the top-ranked wrestler in Division II, nor No. 3 Nicholas Fiegner of Cal Baptist.
Finally, Rulon Taylor will represent CSC at heavyweight. He is 2-0 in his matches against the wrestlers set to compete, defeating his opponents from both Highlands and Colorado School of Mines. In his way to the podium, however, will stand San Francisco State's Sam Alnassiri, the eleventh-ranked 285-pounder in Division II.
Last year's Eagles took fifth place at the conference tournament with three champions and six placers overall, however none of last year's placers will return to Colorado Springs this year. Among this season's squad, only Porter has competed in this venue, wrestling in both the 2016 and 2017 installments of the RMAC Championships.
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