The Chadron State wrestling squad had a short holiday break and is already off to a quick start in the new year competing in three locations last week. The Eagles earned a 25-21 dual victory at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico, Friday, then fell 28-12, Saturday, in a dual with Adams State University, in Alamosa, Colorado.
Also, a group of Eagle wrestlers not scheduled to partake in the duals took it upon themselves to travel and compete at the Hastings College Cusatis Open, in Hastings, Saturday.
Eagles’ Head Coach Brett Hunter brought his group back early from Christmas break to ensure his guys started the year off right, he says, as this year success in dual competition holds even more weight than usual.
Going forward, the RMAC will no longer host its own championship. Instead, each team will match up in duals throughout the season with the conference championship awarded to the team with the best record.
Friday, in New Mexico, the Eagles earned their second dual win of the season as Brandon Kile, junior of Hastings, at 133-pounds, and Jake Otuafi, junior of Sparks, Nevada, at 157-pounds pinned their opponents and four other CSC wrestlers earned wins.
Notable among the wins was a 197-pound bout between CSC’s Wade French, junior of Heriman, Utah, and Highlands’ Chris Collins, senior of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“Chris Collins is pretty tough,” Coach Hunter said, “He has two or three losses this season, all to Division I wrestlers.
“We were wrestling at pretty high elevation and Wade was tired, Collins was tired, but Wade’s got enough heart that he pushed through it and was able to score and put him to his back.”
Against Highlands, Friday, and again Saturday at Adams State, the Eagles were forfeited the 125-pound match. “We’re not at full strength, but we found a way to win,” Hunter said of the dual with Highlands.
Saturday, at Adams State, the Eagles fell to 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the conference. Currently, Chadron and Colorado School of Mines, who is 5-0 against the RMAC, are the only squads with two or more conference wins.
French, Otuafi, Chase Clasen, junior of Moses Lake, Washington, at 149-pounds, and Matt Hebel, junior of Erie, Colorado, at 174-pounds earned wins for Chadron. Just two of the dual’s bouts ended with pins.
“There were a couple matches we gave away that we shouldn’t have,” Hunter said of the matchup. “We had our horses, the Wade French’s the Chase Clasen’s; Matt Hebel and Jake Otuafi both went 2-0, so that’s exciting – they’re wrestling well at the right time. Adams State is a great team and they’re just better than us right now.”
Seven CSC wrestlers took part in the Hastings College open, Saturday, none more successful than heavyweight Mason Watt, freshman of Broomfield, Colorado, who was 4-2 with three pins.
Thursday, the Eagles face a steep challenge as they travel to dual CSU-Pueblo. The Thunderwolves are currently tied for 11th in the NCAA DII Wrestling Coaches Association Top 25.
Among CSU-Pueblo’s four ranked wrestlers is D’Andre Brumfield, junior of Dallas, at 133-pounds and Gavin Nye, freshman of Gerber, California, in the heavyweight class. Both wrestlers are ranked fourth in DII.