The RMAC is proud to partner with USA Wrestling for the second time. Prior to 2016, the last RMAC-only Wrestling Championship was in 1996.
The championship will feature all nine RMAC wrestling teams with Session One beginning at 9 a.m., Session Two at 2:30 p.m. and Session Three (Finals) at 3:45 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online until 5 p.m. on Friday, or at the door on Saturday. Fans can follow the entire event using the live brackets and video links, which will be provided on the Championship homepage later this week.
For more information please go to the RMAC Wrestling Championship homepage, click here.
Three RMAC schools are currently ranked in the top 25 by D2Wrestle.com (Jan. 20) with California Baptist University leading the RMAC at No. 11, CSU-Pueblo at No. 13, and Colorado Mesa tied at No. 18. Chadron State, Western, Adams State, and Colorado School of Mines all received points.
Below is a quick preview of each team leading up to this weekend’s championship action.
The Grizzlies will enter the weekend 0-5 in the RMAC and 1-8 overall. Their dual win was against No. 16 Fort Hays State (No.18 at the time), upsetting the tigers 28-14 in Alamosa.
Defending RMAC 133-pound champion, Martin Ramirez will lead Adams State this year. Ramirez is ranked No. 7 with a 20-7 overall record and 5-1 in the RMAC. His only conference loss was to Chadron State’s No. 9 Taylor Summers (Jan. 27). Last campaign he finished in eighth place at nationals, earning All-American honors to close the 2015-16 season.
California Baptist Univ.
The No. 11 Lancers will look to defend their 2016 RMAC Championship team title with a 3-2 RMAC record, 8-8 overall.
CBU’s two-time All-American and RMAC Preseason Wrestler of the Year, No.1 Jacob Waste (197) will lead the Lancers heading into the championship with a 20-3 overall record, 6-0 in the RMAC. His three losses this season were to Division I opponents. Last year, Waste won the RMAC 184-pound title, and will try to do the same at 197-pounds.
Waste will be joined by teammates No. 3 Nick Fiegener (184, 6-0 RMAC) and No. 10 Daxton Gordon (149, 5-1 RMAC).
The Eagles are looking to come back from a sixth-place team finish at last year’s championship. Chadron State leads the conference with a 6-0 RMAC record, 7-1 overall. Their only loss came from No. 9 Univ. of Central Oklahoma (20-18) on Jan. 14.
No. 8 Chance Helmick is a key component to Chadron State’s success. Helmick is undefeated in the conference with a 6-0 RMAC record, 23-3 overall. He sits atop the national rankings with 12 pins on the season.
Other nationally ranked grapplers include No. 9 Taylor Summers (133) and No. 12 Brandon Kile (125).
The No. 18 Mavericks finished third at the 2016 RMAC Championship. Colorado Mesa currently has a 3-2 RMAC record and a 9-3 overall record.
No. 5 Payton Tawater leads the team with a 23-7 overall record and will enter the championship with a 12-match winning streak. The redshirt-freshman’s last loss was on Dec. 18 to a Division I opponent.
The Mavs have three other grapplers ranked in the top 12 including No.7 Daniel Salazar (141), No. 12 Jason Buhr (165), and No. 12 Bruno Nicoletti (174).
Colorado School of Mines
The Orediggers will look to improve on last year’s championship performance after tying for last place with New Mexico Highlands. Colorado School of Mines is 4-7 overall and 1-4 in conference action.
Robert Gambrell and No. 8 Jacob Gerken continue to lead the team on Saturday. Gambrell is 20-3 overall, while Gerken enters the weekend 13-5.
The ThunderWolves have three grapplers ranked in the top 10, No. 4 JaCobi Jones (165), No. 6 JaVaughn Perkins (184) and No. 9 Kyle Bateman (174). All three are set to put on a strong performance for the No. 13 ranked team. Last season, Jones won the RMAC 157-pound bracket and will be eyeing the title at 165.
CSU-Pueblo will take on this weekend after going 2-2 in conference action and 8-5 overall.
New Mexico Highlands
The Cowboys will come into Saturday’s action with a 2-7 overall record and a 2-3 conference record. Their two wins this season were against Adams State (21-20) and Colorado School of Mines (18-16).
Keep a look out for redshirt-junior, Reis Humphrey (157) Humphrey has a 7-5 overall record at 157. In the RMAC he’s won 4-of-5 duals with his only RMAC loss to the ThunderWolves (Jan. 21).
San Francisco State
The Gators own a 5-10 overall record and a 1-1 RMAC record. This season, SFSU faced some of the toughest opponents in the nation as nine of the 15 teams they competed against were nationally ranked at the time.
Matt Gamble is set to compete in the 125 bracket. Gamble currently leads the Gators with a 15-7 overall record and a 2-0 RMAC record.
The Mountaineers are 6-5 overall and 2-1 in RMAC action. Their two conference wins came against Colorado School of Mines (40-0) and No. 13 CSU-Pueblo (22-15).
Individually, No. 3 Ronald Wardleigh recorded his 11th pin of the season against No. 2 UNK on Jan. 27. Last campaign, Wardleigh fell in the RMAC Championship finals to Colorado Mesa’s Stelling at the 125-pound bracket. Plenty of eyes will be on the 125-pounder as he enters the championship with one loss this season and another shot at the title.
Final brackets will be announced Friday, Feb. 3.
2016-17 RMAC Wrestlers of the Week
Week 1 (11/8)
Tuli Laula, Adams State
Week 2 (11/15)
Bruno Nicoletti, Colorado Mesa
Week 3 (11/22)
Nick Fiegener, California Baptist
Week 4 (12/6)
Nick Fiegener, California Baptist
Week 5 (12/20)
Ronald Wardleigh, Western
Week 6 (1/10)
Payton Tawater, Colorado Mesa
Week 7 (1/17)
Chance Helmick, Chadron State
Week 8 (1/24)
JaVaughn Perkins, CSU-Pueblo