Tritons 2nd at nationals

COUNCIL BLUFFS – The Iowa Central wrestling team fell one place shy of repeating as national champions here Saturday, finishing second at the NJCAA tournament.

The top-ranked Tritons finished with 128 points and crowned three national champions at the Mid-America Center.

Alex Delacruz (125 pounds), Jason Alfau (141) and Tyler Hoffman (184) were gold medalists for Iowa Central. Alfau and Hoffman were defending national champs; Delacruz was third a year ago.

“Obviously this isn’t what we set out for as a team, but having three champs takes some of the sting away,”?Triton head coach Luke Moffitt said. “I’m very proud of them. It’s not easy to win back-to-back titles especially. They both showed a lot of guts and resilience after falling behind early (in their respective matches), which is a testament to their commitment and lifestyle.”

The top-ranked Delacruz defeated Cole Verner of Western Wyoming, 8-6. Alfau, rated seventh, handled Iowa Western’s Colton Adams, 10-4. Hoffman, who was also No. 1 coming into the competition, pinned Wesley Schultz of Iowa Lakes in 4:21.

Iowa Central’s Zak Hensley (No. 2 at 133) was upended in his championship match by NIACC’s Shiquan Hall, 5-3.

Kendrick Jones (5th at 197) and Brandon Murray (7th at 157) were the other medalists for the Tritons.

No. 3 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, out of Miami, Okla., held its ground at the top by crowning three champions of its own and scoring 152.5 points.

“It became a numbers race, even before it started, and our margin for error was very small with one less qualifier,”?Moffitt said. “We had six All-Americans. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M?had nine. Once they got the lead, it was tough to catch up. They earned it.”

Ellsworth (98) was a distant third behind the Tritons, followed by host Iowa Western and NIACC (90.5 points each).

Tritons 2nd at nationals

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. – The Iowa Central men’s and women’s bowling teams both placed second at the NJCAA national tournament here Saturday.

The Triton women were behind only Schenectady County (11,928 pins) in the final standings at Airport Lanes. Iowa Central’s Cassandra Rose (fourth place individually) and Courtney Otradovec (eighth) were both All-Americans.

Corning Community College tied the Tritons in the runner-up position at 11,567 pins.

The Iowa Central men (12,716 pins) finished behind only Suffolk County (13,100). Schenectady was third, and Highland placed fourth.

Logan Williams (fifth place) garnered All-American status for the Tritons.

”It was just such a great group of kids to work with,” ICCC head coach Gregg Haden said. ”All of the practices and the drills really paid off. We put more time in than ever before on preparing ourselves.

”I figured we would finish either first or second on the men’s side, but you never want to assume too much. And I was hoping for a Top-5 finish with the women; they really came through. It was a terrific showing by both teams.”

The Triton men also qualified again for the sectional round of the Intercollegiate team championships, which draws the Top-80 squads in the nation, regardless of level. Iowa Central has advanced four years in a row to this event, which will take place March 11-13 in Addison, Ill.

Tritons 2nd at nationals

COUNCIL BLUFFS – Defending champion Iowa Central is in second placed heading into the final day of the NJCAA national wrestling tournament.

The top-ranked Tritons accumulated 78 points on Friday at the Mid-America Center, which is behind only No. 3 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (83.5). Host Iowa Western (69.5) is third, and Ellsworth (68.5) is fourth.

Iowa Central has five semifinalists: top-ranked Alex Delacruz (125 pounds), No. 2 Zach Hensley (133), No. 7 Jason Alfau (141), top-rated Tyler Hoffman (184), and fifth-ranked Kendrick Jones (197). Alfau and Hoffman were national champions a year ago, while Delacruz placed third.

The Tritons have only one wrestler alive on the backside: Brandon Murray at 157. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, which has four semifinalists, also has five in wrestlebacks.

Top-ranked Ryne Cokeley (149), Stephon Gray (165), and Armani Robinson (No. 5 at 174) have been eliminated from medal contention.

Iowa Western has two on the championship side and three in consolations. Ellsworth has four and three, respectively. NIACC, which is fifth, has three and two.

The semifinals start at 10:30 a.m. this morning. The finals are scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m.