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Carl Albert State College Earns Nine Total All Americans

The Carl Albert State College (CASC) wrestling program sent their men’s and women’s teams to Council Bluffs, Iowa this weekend for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national championship tournaments on March 1-2. The men’s team qualified 9 wrestlers between the district qualifying tournament a couple weeks ago and the at-large bids. The Vikings finished 12th overall as a team and had three individual All Americans. The women’s tournament is set up a bit differently, as it is an invitational tournament, rather than going through a qualification process. The Lady Vikings had 13 wrestlers invited and finished 5th overall as a team with six All American finishers. 

The CASC men sent RJ Jones at 125 pounds, Cooper Evans (133), Cale Glover (141), Jaden Two Lance (149), Noah Smith (157), Matthan Mason (174), Josiah Rhodes (184), Hunter Hall (197), and Austin Tischer (285) to the NJCAA national tournament. The Viking represented themselves well, with all nine members of the men’s team scoring at least one victory on the day.

Jaden Two Lance led the way for the Vikings, making the championship finals. Two Lance was very impressive throughout his run to the finals, scoring bonus points in every match through the semifinals. After receiving a bye in the first round, Two Lance set the tone in his opening bout by scoring an 18-0 tech fall. Two Lance would go on to pick up an 11-2 major decision in the round of 16, a 14-6 major in the quarterfinals, and a 17-3 major decision in the semifinals. In the championship match, Two Lance faced the number 1 seed and got off to a bit of a slow start, giving up a pair of takedowns in the first period. Two Lance would prove to be unable to be kept down, but was unable to get to his offense and went on to lose the match by a 4-10 decision to Matt Sarbo of Iowa Central. After Sarbo collected three pinfalls and a tech fall on his way to the finals, Two Lance showed a lot of grit and toughness to force the match to last all 7 minutes and hold Sarbo to only a decision.

At 133 pounds, Cooper Evans made a run to the semifinals by receiving a first round bye, picking up a first period pinfall and gritting out a pair of decision victories before coming up short against the number 1 seed in a 0-5 decision. Evans fell to the consolation semifinals, where he was unable to find a takedown and lost a tough 1-4 decision, then lost a heartbreaking 4-5 decision in the 5th place match to settle for 6th place. Evans wrestled strong throughout the tournament to earn his place on the podium as an All American. 

Noah Smith took a slightly longer route to the podium. After receiving a first round bye, Smith picked up a 21-5 tech fall and a fast :35 second pinfall to make the quarterfinals before coming up short against the number 2 seed. Smith fell to the blood round with his back against the wall, needing a victory to secure a podium finish, and he won a 22-19 barn burner of a decision victory. Unsatisfied with just being on the podium, Smith followed up with a pinfall victory to guarantee that he would finish above his number 7 seed. Smith would come up short in the consolation semifinals, as well as the 5th place match and finish the tournament in 6th, but the determination and ability to bounce back after a tough loss and make the podium in dramatic fashion was very fun to follow. 

At 125 pounds, RJ Jones had a very eventful day. After coming up short in his first match, Jones would storm back in a big way with three pinfalls and a decision victory before getting pinned while leading in the blood round to come painfully short of the podium. After receiving a first round bye, unseeded Cale Glover started his day off by upsetting the number 11 seed in the 141 pound bracket with a pinfall before getting defeated in the round of 16 by the 6 seed. Glover’s day ended after being defeated in his first consolation round match. At 174 pounds, Matthan Mason…

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