Iowa Central’s Small repeats as NJCAA champ; Northeastern Oklahoma A&M gets team title with nine All-Americans

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Feb. 24, 2018, 10:49 p.m. (ET)
Todd Small of Iowa Central celebrates his second straight NJCAA national title. Video capture from FloWrestling broadcast.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Led by nine All-Americans, but no individual champions, Northeastern Oklahoma claimed the team title at the NJCAA National Championships on Saturday, a full 23 points ahead of runner-up Clackamas. Defending champion Iowa Central was third.

The team title was clinched during the consolation rounds, as no team could catch Joe Renfro’s Norse during the gold-medal finals. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M had only one finalist, returning champion Wyatt Jordan of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (165), who was soundly defeated in the finals by Troy Keller of Niagra, 10-0.

But, the Norse had two bronze medalists, Kendon Lee (149) and Brian Andrews (285), and with two others who placed fourth, putting five athletes in the top four of their weight class.

Todd Small of Iowa Central became a two-time NJCAA national champion, after pinning Mongolia native Munkhbat Bat-erdene of Northwest Kansas Tech in 4:10 at 133 pounds. Small, who won his 2017 national title at 125 pounds, was explosive on his feet with double leg takedowns, and was able to turn Bat-erdene to his back with a leg sunk in and press for the fall.

Three overtime matches were key in giving Clackamas its runner-up position. Iowa Central had two other finalists drop their matches in overtime, while Clackamas scored an overtime win in the finals to finish 3.5 points ahead of Iowa Central.

Clackamas had an individual champion in Dylan Reel at 174 pounds, who scored a sudden victory takedown to beat Anthony Collins of Ellsworth, 8-6.

The heartbreaking losses for Iowa Central happened at 157, where Kade Sander of Barton beat Ethan Karsten of Iowa Central, 5-4 in tiebreaker two. Then at 197, after leading most of the match, Tyree Sutton of Iowa Central was forced into overtime by Wade French of Western Wyoming on a last-second takedown. French used that momentum to take down Sutton for a 10-8 sudden death victory.

Leading the international contingent at the NJCAA Nationals this year were champions Nodir Safarov of Northwest Wyoming (125) and Odgerel Batkhishig of Northwest Kansas Tech (285).

Safarov, from Uzbekistan, used his great takedown skills to defeat Benny Gomez of Muskegon, 11-7. Safarov was 2009 Junior World bronze medalist and two-time Senior World Team member for Uzbekistan. Safarov lost a 12-1 technical fall to World silver medalist Thomas Gilman of the USA in the quarterfinals of the 2017 World Championships in Paris and finished eighth.

Batkhishig, a Mongolia native, was also effective on his feet, taking an early lead and defeating Lisiate Anau of Northwest Wyoming in a 10-1 major decision. Batkhishig was fifth at the 2016 Asian Junior Championships for Mongolia.

Other individual champions included Austin Anderly of NIACC at 141, Kenny Astle of Western Wyoming at 149 and Tanner Harvey of Southwestern Oregon at 184.

Fans can find the archived video from the NJCAA Nationals on FloWrestling, with complete results on FloArena.

At Council Bluffs, Iowa

1st - Nodir Safarov (Northwest Wyoming) dec. Benny Gomez (Muskegon), 11-7
3rd - Jaxon Cole (Western Wyoming) DEC Boo Dryden (Northeast Oklahoma), 3-0
5th - Marcelino Lopez (Cowley) DEC Dillon Prutch (Labette), 10-9
7th - Esco Walker jr. (North Idaho) DEC Javier Moreno (Ellsworth), 9-7

1st - Todd Small (Iowa Central) pin Munkhbat Bat-erdene (Northwest Kansas Tech), 4:10
3rd - Gage Gomez (Barton) DEC D'andre Brumfield (Iowa Western), 8-3
5th - Ottis Rollins (Colby) DEC Justin Folley (Ellsworth), 11-7
7th - Jack Karstetter (Northeast Oklahoma) DEC Tramon Jenkins (Spartanburg), 19-16

1st - Austin Anderly (NIACC) dec. Christian Kanzler (Lincoln), 3-2
3rd - Tyree Johnson (Triton) DEC Ralph Tovar (Clackamas), 7-5
5th - Eric Clarke (Iowa Central) M FOR Kevin Kissane (Pratt)
7th - Jake Thompson (Western Wyoming) DEF Cody Karstetter (Northeast Oklahoma)

1st - Kenny Astle (Western Wyoming) pin Michael Zachary (Iowa Western), 3:55
3rd - Kendon Lee (Northeast Oklahoma) F David Hollingsworth (Iowa Lakes), 1:05
5th - Jasiah Williams (Clackamas) F Christopher Meloni (Nassau), 6:16
7th - Mark Voss (Ridgewater) DEC John Reina (Niagara), 6-3

1st - Kade Sander (Barton) dec. Ethan Karsten (Iowa Central), 5-4, tb2
3rd - Steven Lawrence (Ellsworth) F Isaiah Diggs (Clackamas), 4:59
5th - Liam Corbett (Highline) DEC Thomas Stevenson (North Idaho), 7-3
7th - Noah Jackson (NIACC) MD Tate Allison (Northwest Wyoming), 10-2

1st - Troy Keller (Niagara) maj. dec. Wyatt Jordan (Northeast Oklahoma), 10-0
3rd - Michial Foy (Harper) F Dillon Ulrey (Clackamas), 6:40
5th - Jacob Swift (North Idaho) DEC Jose Rodriguez (Iowa Central), 16-9
7th - Sangobunmi Smith (Iowa Lakes) F Justin Anderson (Northeastern), 0:18

1st - Dylan Reel (Clackamas) dec. Anthony Collins (Ellsworth), 8-6, sv
3rd - Cody Kingery (Iowa Western) DEC Devin Crawl (Northeast Oklahoma), 5-3
5th - David Kelly (Barton) DEC Michael Abidin (Nassau), 9-7 SV
7th - Cameron Page (Jamestown) DEC Matt Hebel (Western Wyoming), 11-8

1st - Tanner Harvey (Southwestern Oregon) dec. Levi Perry (North Idaho), 14-9
3rd - Nick Maximov (Clackamas) F Ottis Peeler (Iowa Western), 5:00
5th - Alex Kaufmann (Northeast Oklahoma) DEC Antrez Clagon (Iowa Central), 1-0
7th - Joseph White (Northwest Kansas Tech) F Jeff Oakes (Northwest Wyoming), 4:06

1st - Wade French (Western Wyoming) dec. Tyree Sutton (Iowa Central), 10-8, sv.
3rd - Baker Hadwan (Muskegon) DEC Amos Daigbe (Highline), 3-2 TB2
5th - Mason Hawkins (Rochester) DEC Seth Ham (Iowa Western), 9-8
7th - Zeke Silva (Northeast Oklahoma) DEC Cory Schmidt (Itasca), 8-6

1st - Odgerel Batkhishig (Northwest Kansas Tech) maj. dec. Lisiate Anau (Northwest Wyoming), 10-1
3rd - Brian Andrews (Northeast Oklahoma) MD Damian Trujillo (North Idaho), 13-3
5th - Bryan Ditchman (Joliet) F Darryl Aiello (Clackamas), 1:05
7th - Jonathan Solorzano (Nassau) FOR Jimsher Sidhu (NIACC)

Team Standings
1 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M 147.5
2 Clackamas 124.5
3 Iowa Central 121
4 Western Wyoming 99.5
5 Iowa Western 86.5
6 North Idaho 80.5
7 Ellsworth 76.5
8 Northwest Wyoming
9 Barton 70.5
10 Northwest Kansas Tech 61
11 Niagara 46.5
12 Iowa Lakes 44
13 Nassau 43
14 Muskegon 42.5
15 Harper 37.5
16 Southwestern Oregon 35
17 NIACC 34.5
18 Rochester 32.5
19 Highline 29.5
20 Spartanburg 26.5
21 Triton 25
22 Joliet 22
22 Pratt 22
24 Labette 20.5
25 Lincoln 19