NJCAA Wrestling: Four Iowa wrestlers win junior college national titles

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

Four wrestlers from Iowa schools won individual titles at the junior college national championships on Thursday night at the Mid-American Center in Council Bluffs.

Iowa Western's Isaiah Crosby won at 157 pounds, NIAAC's Christian Minto won at 165, Iowa Central's Jose Rodriguez won at 174, and Iowa Lakes' Mitchell Williamson won at 285, solidifying another strong showing from Iowa's junior college programs.

Four other Iowa wrestlers — NIAAC's Jose Valdez (197), and three from Iowa Central, Bret Minor (141), Keaton Geerts (165), Jordan Pryor (285) — made the finals. In all, six Iowa junior colleges produced 20 total All-Americans over the two-day event, the final national collegiate championship event of the 2020-21 season.

Clackamas wins title, Iowa Central third

Iowa Central led all Iowa schools with a third-place finish, with 129 points. The Tritons finished behind first-place Clackamas (152.5) and second-place Western Wyoming (147). Pratt (126.5) took fourth and Northeastern Oklahoma (125) took fifth.

Five Iowa Central wrestlers finished on the podium, led by Rodriguez's individual title at 174 pounds. He went 5-0 with four pins and a major decision and outscored his opponents by a combined 59-17. 

Minor made the finals at 141 as the 25-seed, but fell to Northwest Kansas Tech's Chinzorig Tsermaa by a 24-9 technical fall in the finals. Geerts, who transferred to Iowa Central from Northern Iowa, lost to NIAAC's Minto in the finals, 13-6, at 165. Pryor, the 12-seed at heavyweight, lost to Williamson, 3-1, on a third-period takedown.

Aidan Harris was Iowa Central's other All-American, finishing fourth at 125 pounds. Indian Hills and Iowa Western both finished inside the top-10 of the team race, placing eighth and ninth, respectively, with 81 and 80 points. NIAAC finished 12th with 57.

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Iowa Western's Crosby wins No. 2

Iowa Western's top-10 finish was bolstered by Isaiah Crosby's second consecutive junior-college national title. Crosby, a Florida native, went 5-0 to win at 157 pounds after winning at 165 last year. This week, he outscored his five opponents 68-13 behind a pair of technical falls and two more major decisions.

In the finals, Crosby defeated Pratt's Dayton Porsch, a one-time Northern Iowa wrestler, 16-4. Crosby used a pair of takedowns and a series of turns to race out to a 12-2 lead in the first period, then tacked on another takedown in the third to ice it.

Five All-Americans for Indian Hills

Indian Hills announced it was adding both men's and women's wrestling about 19 months ago. This week, five Warrior wrestlers earned All-American honors.

Deron Pulliam led the way with a third-place finish at 184 pounds. Caleb Meekins took fourth at 133. Chris Busutil took fifth at 125, and both Victory Guzman (141) and Khris Walton (197) took seventh.

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NIAAC gets 2 finalists

NIAAC's 12th-place team finish was anchored mostly by Minto's national title run at 165. After finishing second last season (to Crosby), Minto went 5-0 this week to win, outscoring his opponents 46-14 along the way.

Jose Valdez was NIAAC's other finalist. He lost to Cloud's Zach Ferris, 3-2, in the finals at 197. In the second tiebreaker, Valdez was hit for stalling three times in 20 seconds, turning a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 defeat.

East grad Deville Dentis takes third

Des Moines East graduate Deville Dentis, a three-time Class 3A state medalist and 2018 state finalist, finished third at 149 pounds for Clackamas. It is Dentis' second straight NJCAA All-American finish. He took sixth for Iowa Lakes last season.

This week, Dentis went 5-1. He won his first three matches to reach the semifinals, where he lost to Pratt's top-seeded Jacob Beeson, 1-0. Dentis then won twice in the wrestlebacks to finish third.

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.

2021 NJCAA Wrestling Championships

TEAM SCORES

  1. Clackamas, 152.5
  2. Western Wyoming, 147
  3. Iowa Central, 129
  4. Pratt, 126.5
  5. Northeastern Oklahoma, 125

FINALS RESULTS

  • 125: Michael Spangler (Pratt) tech. fall Cameron Enriquez (Clackamas), 18-2
  • 133: Zeth Brower (Clackamas) pinned Jason Henschel (Pratt), 3:18
  • 141: Chinzorig Tsermaa (NW Kansas Tech) tech. fall Bret Minor (Iowa Central), 24-9
  • 149: Sal Silva (North Idaho) dec. Jacob Beeson (Pratt), 3-1
  • 157: Isaiah Crosby (Iowa Western) maj. dec. Dayton Porsch (Pratt), 16-4
  • 165: Christian Minto (NIAAC) dec. Keaton Geerts (Iowa Central), 13-6
  • 174: Jose Rodriguez (Iowa Central) pinned Mason Christiansen (Western Wyoming), 6:17
  • 184: Jacari Deal (NW Kansas Tech) dec. Gavin Christofferson (RCTC), 7-4
  • 197: Zach Ferris (Cloud) dec. Jose Valdez (NIAAC), 3-2 (TB2)
  • 285: Mitchell Williamson (Iowa Lakes) dec. Jorden Pryor (Iowa Central), 3-1