NIC routs conference rivals
The top-ranked NIC wrestling team defeated three conference opponents over the weekend.
The Cardinals won both duals of their doubleheader at home Saturday afternoon, beating conference foes Southwestern Oregon Community College 35-6, and later third-ranked Clackamas Community College 33-15.
After splitting the first two matches against Southwestern Oregon (Coos Bay, Ore.), the Cardinals went on a run, winning all but one of their remaining matches.
Redshirt sophomore Brock Banta earned six points for the Cardinals in the 125-pound match upon pinning the opposing Michael Nguyen of Southwestern Oregon.
The Cardinals concluded the dual with a 149-pound match in which freshman Jeremy Golding beat Southwestern’s Ryan Bullock.
Later in the day, the Cardinals took an early 18-0 lead against their second opponent, Clackamas (Oregon City, Ore.).
All-American redshirt sophomore 165-pounder Jake Mason was explosive out of the gate as he quickly pinned his opponent, improving his team’s score to 12-0.
“Mason had two tough losses and then bounced back, got the pin, and wrestled solid,” said NIC head coach Pat Whitcomb.
Midway through the match, Clackamas started a comeback.
Lead by Jacob Laden and Jacob Mitchell’s back-to-back pins against Guiseppe Dippolito (197) and Bryan Smith (285) of the Cardinals, Clackamas came within six points, down 18-12.
The Cardinals were once again quick to respond, returning the favor with two pins of their own by All-American sophomore Michael Carreon (133) and, for the second time that day, Banta.
NIC and Clackamas split the final two matches earning three points each.
The Cardinals concluded the day with a total of four pins.
“I think today we did more things to be positive about than negative,” Whitcomb said. “I am really pleased going into the break with that win.”
The previous night the Cardinals battled Northwest Wyoming College of Powell, Wyo., beating the 11th-ranked Trappers 35-6 at Christianson Gymnasium.
NIC sealed the win at the end of the dual with three pins.
All-American redshirt sophomore Caleb Rivera pinned Randy Andrews in the 184-pound match; Dippolito pinned Braden Gibson and Smith pinned Jade Parsons.
Banta and sophomore Michael Rodriguez each picked up wins to lead off the Cardinals’ lineup before Zach Loveless of Northwest earned a 2-1 decision over NIC sophomore All-American Jarrett Morrill in the 141-pound weight class.
NIC is 6-1 overall, 4-0 in conferene after this weekend’s matches.
The team will have about a month off before their next match on Jan. 17 against Highline Community College in Des Moines, Wash.