Wrestlers Finish 17th in Nation; Turner an All-American
Sean Turner Advances to National Semifinals; Jayhawk Wrestlers in 14th Place
At the NJCAA Wrestling Champions on Friday in Rochester, Minn., MCC’s Sean Turner (Monroe, MI/Monroe) at 149 pounds has advanced to the semifinals and has secured All-American honors after an 11-8 victory over Nathania Garcia of Northwest College in the quarterfinal round. He started his day with pins over Demetriu Taylor of Ellsworth College and Terry Harris of Darton College.
Three wrestlers fell just one match short of All-American Honors they were Steven Ruppert (Reed City, MI/Reed City) at 141 pounds. Thomas Bolday (Emmet, MI/Capac) at 197 pounds; and Ryan Steverson (Lake Odessa, MI/Lakewood) at 285 pounds.
Labette CC leads the team standings with 87.5 points. Rounding out the top 15 are: Iowa Central 86, Lincoln College 72.5, Clackamas CC 69.5, North Idaho 59.5, Nassau CC 55.5, Colby CC 48, Harper 47.5, Iowa Lakes CC 37, Middlesex CC 35.5, Gloucester CC 33, Highline CC 31, Muskegon CC 30 and Neosho County CC 27.5.
Competition concludes today with the team and individual champions being determined.
All 10 MCC Wrestlers Qualify for NJCCA Nationals
Led by district champion Jacob Brown (Conklin, MI/Coopersville), 10th ranked MCC qualified wrestlers in all 10 weight classes for the NJCAA nationals to be held Feb. 24-25 in Rochester, Minn.
The Jayhawks accomplished the impressive feat on Sunday at the NJCAA Central District National Qualifier at Triton College in Illinois, where MCC placed third in the team standings behind eighth ranked Harper College and fourth ranked Lincoln College, respectively.
“I talked all week about how we are a family and how all ten guys are going to qualify for nationals as a group,” said MCC Coach Mark Brunger. “Last year we won the Central District team championship but only qualified nine wrestlers to nationals. This is a big deal to get all ten guys to the big dance. We’ve had a lot of struggles as a team this year with injuries and things. I’m just so proud of how they all hung in there and kept believing.”
Pacing the Jayhawks was sophomore Jacob Brown who won the tournament championship at 174 pounds over fifth ranked Khari Washington of Harper College, a 2011 All-American.
“It was a thrilling overtime win for Jake,” said Brunger. “Jake has worked so hard all year, in and out of the wrestling room. He kept the pressure on Khari the entire match neutralizing his offense. In the first overtime Khari just crumbled under Jake’s pressure.”
Other placers qualifying for the national tournament were second place finishers Sean Turner (Monroe, MI/Monroe) at 149 pounds, Mat Henry (Durand, MI/Owosso) at 184 pounds, and Ryan Steverson (Lake Odessa, MI/Lakewood) at 285 pounds. Finishing in third place was Eric Telford (Bancroft, MI/Durand) at 157 pounds. Finishing fourth was Michael Lackney (Reed City, MI/Reed City) at 133 pounds, Steven Ruppert (Reed City, MI/Reed City) at 141 pounds and Tom Bolday (Emmet, MI/Capac) at 197 pounds. Jarred Lilyhorn (Saline, MI/Ypsilanti Lincoln) finished fifth and qualified at 125 pounds and Jamie Spencer (Tipp City, OH/Butler) finished sixth and qualified at 165 pounds.
Ruppert Leads Stellar MCC Wrestling Team Effort at Laker Classic
A trio of MCC wrestlers advanced to the finals while nine placed in the top four in their weight classes to spearhead the Jayhawks’ stellar performance at the Laker Classic Saturday at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI.
The Jayhawks were led by 141 pound freshman Steven Ruppert (Reed City, MI/Reed City) who came from behind to defeat Notre Dame College’s Austin Sanders in overtime in the title match. Ruppert was down 2-0 entering the third period and proceeded to execute a non-stop barrage of attacks. He finally wore Sanders down with two seconds left on the clock and forced overtime. Not letting up, Ruppert continued his offensive and 30 seconds into the overtime secured the winning takedown.
“I am so proud of Steven,” said MCC Coach Mark Brunger. “He beat two excellent opponents from Notre Dame en route to his championship. Notre Dame added an incredible amount of competition to this open as they are the two-time defending NAIA national champions.”
Another Reed City product, Michael Lackney (Reed City, MI/Reed City) took second at 133 pounds.
“Michael has had a rough year, we have frequent conversations about hanging in there and wrestling for the end of the season,” explained Brunger. “He proved to me today that he is listening and believing in himself.”
MCC heavyweight Cody VanDonkelaar (Muskegon, MI/Orchard View) also advanced to the finals.
“I’ve coached Cody since he was in the Orchard View youth program,” said Brunger. “I am happy to see him continuing to perform at a high level.”
Third place finishers for the Jayhawks were: 174 pound Jacob Brown (Conklin, MI/Coopersville) and 285 pound Ryan Steverson (Lake Odessa, MI/Lakewood). Finishing in fourth place were 149 pound Sean Turner (Monroe, MI/Monroe), 157 pound Eric Telford (Bancrot, MI/Durand), 174 pound Trevor Curtice (Delton, MI/Delton-Kellogg), and 184 pound Matt Henry (Durand, MI/Owosso).
The 10th ranked Muskegon wrestlers will head to Triton College in River Grove, IL to compete for a Central District team championship and individual berths to the NJCAA National Championships slated for Feb. 24-25 in Rochester, MN.
MCC Wrestling Team Ranked 10th in Nation
The MCC wrestling team was ranked 10th in the nation in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll released on Feb. 2.
Iowa Central was atop the national standings, followed by Labette CC, Clackamas CC, Lincoln College, Northwest College, North Idaho College, Nassau CC, Harper College, Southwestern Oregon CC and Muskegon CC.
Individually, several Jayhawks are ranked nationally. Steve Ruppert (Reed City, MI/Reed City) is fifth at 141 pounds, Sean Turner (Monroe, MI/Monroe) is sixth at 149 pounds, Eric Telford is 10th at 157 pounds, Calib Rought (Ferry, MI/Fremont) is 10th at 165 pounds, Jacob Brown (Conklin, MI/Coopersville) is sixth at 174 pounds, Matt Henry (Durand, MI/Owosso) is 11th at 197 pounds, and Ryan Steverson (Lake Odessa, MI/Lakewood) is seventh at 285 pounds.
Jacob Brown Named MCC Wrestler of the Week
MCC sophomore 174-pounder Jacob Brown (Conklin, MI/Coopersville) was named the Jayhawk Wrestler of the Week after going 2-0 at the Harper Duals on Saturday in Palantine, Ill.
The 15th ranked Jayhawks dropped a 52-12 decision to 11th ranked host Harper College, lost 33-21 to Triton and fell 50-0 to fourth-ranked Lincoln College.
Brown earned a forfeit win against Harper, then posted a 10-1 major decision against Christian Alcantara of Triton. MCC’s Tom Bolday (Emmett, MI/Capac) at 184 pounds pinned Harper’s Brandon Dillenbeck in 2:23 and then pinned Triton’s Scott Ammons in 2:14. Also posting a win against Triton was 149-pounder Sean Turner (Monroe, MI/Monroe) who pinned Matt McNulty in 1:18.
Bolday Leads MCC Wrestlers at Alma
Tom Bolday (Emmett, MI/Capac) placed second at 184 pounds to lead the MCC wrestlers on Saturday at the Alma College Invite in Alma, MI.
Bolday made his way to the finals by defeating Jeremy DeMitchell of Michigan Club and Jared Groeneveld of Alma College before falling to Michigan Club wrestler Peter Waszkiewic by a close 6-5 margin in the title match.
“Tommy wrestled well all day,” said MCC Coach Mark Brunger. “His semifinal victory was especially impressive, Jared was an undefeated state champion last year and is an outstanding wrestler. We wrestled well in a tournament that had some really good competition, including Division I redshirts and backups from Eastern, Central and Michigan State.”
Two Jayhawks placed fourth: Matt Henry (Durand, MI/Owosso) at 197 pounds and Steven Ruppert (Reed City, MI/Reed City) at 141 pounds.
Former National Champ Anton Hall Headed into Wrestling Hall of Fame in February
Anton Hall, a former two-time NJCAA finalist and national champion for Muskegon Community College, will be inducted into the National Junior College Wrestling Hall of Fame on Feb. 25 at the NJCAA Wrestling Championships in Rochester, MN.
A graduate of Forest Hills Northern High School in Grand Rapids, MI, Hall was a scholastic state champion for Coach Tim Maczinski. At MCC, Hall was a two-time Region XII Champion, a two-time NJCAA finalist, and captured the 165-pound national title in 2001. Under MCC Coach Ron Gaffner, Hall posted a school record 74-11 overall record and 21-2 dual meet mark.
An Academic All-American, Hall was selected Muskegon Community College Student Athlete of the Year in 2001. He completed his education and wrestled at Michigan State University.
He and his wife, Elizabeth, have one son, Issac. Hall is the project facilitator at the YMCA of Metro Detroit.
Jayhawks Lose at Lincoln Duals
The 15th ranked MCC wrestling team lost three matches at the Lincoln Duals held on Saturday, Jan. 14, at Lincoln College in Lincoln, IL.
Third-ranked Labette College of Parsons, KS, blanked the Jayhawks 43-0, while Ellsworth CC of Iowa Falls, Iowa, took a 30-12 win and host fourth-ranked Lincoln earned a 33-13 win over MCC.
Against Ellsworth, MCC winners included: 141-pound Steve Ruppert (Reed City, MI/Reed City), 174-pound Trevor Curtice (Delton, MI/Delton-Kellogg) and 184-pound Tom Bolday (Emmett, MI/Capac). The Jayhawks winners against Lincoln were: Jared Lilyhorn (Saline, MI/Ypsilanti Lincoln) at 125 pounds, Mike Lackney (Reed City, MI/Reed City) at 133 pounds and 174-pound Jacob Brown (Conklin, MI/Coopersville).
15th Ranked Wrestlers Face Three Top 20 Teams
Ranked 15th in the country, the MCC wrestlers took seventh place against some of the nation’s top teams at the NCWA/Cliff Keen National Duals in Springfield, Ill., on Saturday and Sunday.
The Jayhawks opened against defending national champion Clackamas Community College. MCC lost 21-18 to the nation’s second-ranked team.
“We came out to ready to wrestle against Clackamas and battled hard,” recounted Jayhawks Coach Mark Brunger. “I am impressed by the effort of all the kids.”
MCC lost another tough dual meet, 25-13, to 11th ranked Harper College before defeating the 20th ranked Rend Lake College 45-6.
Among the best individual performances were:
- 141-pound Steven Ruppert (Reed City, MI/Reed City) 2-1 including a 12-9 decision over top-ranked Cody Randall of Clackamus;
- 149-pound Sean Turner (Monroe, MI/Monroe) 2-1;
- 149-pound Luke Faultersack (Coloma, MI/Coloma) 2-0;
- 157-pound Eric Telford (Bancroft, MI/Durand) 1-0;
- 165-pound Calib Rought (Ferry, MI/Fremont) 2-0 against two ranked opponents;
- 174-pound Trevor Curtice (Delton, MI/Delton-Kellogg) 1-0;
- 184-pound Tom Bolday (Emmett, MI/Capac) 2-1; and
- 285-pound Ryan Steverson (Lake Odessa, MI/Lakewood) 2-1.
The Jayhawks return to action on Saturday at the Lincoln Duals in Lincoln, IL.
MCC’s Brown, Faultersack Finish Second At Art Kraft Memorial Invite in Illinois
Two MCC wrestlers earned second places at the Art Kraft Memorial Invitational on Saturday at Triton College in River Grove, Ill. Luke Faultersack (Coloma, MI/Coloma) at 149 pounds and Jacob Brown (Conklin, MI/Coopersville) at 174 pounds advanced to the finals before losing.
In the semis, Faultersack pinned Mercyhurst NE’s Jake Kondrlik, ranked fourth nationally at 157 pounds but who was wrestling down a weight class in 3:41. In the finale, Luke took a 2-1 lead against Harper College’s Donnie Simpson after a period.
“Luke gave up a one-point escape after the second period but not before gaining the ride time advantage,” recounted MCC Coach Mark Brunger. “Choosing neutral in the third period, Luke worked hard to keep it at 2-2 or score a takedown himself but came up on the short end of a scramble and lost the closely contested match. Luke did his best wrestling of the season today and it was great to get match-ups with Kondrlik and Simpson to measure where we are right now.”
Meanwhile, Brown advanced to the final to face Harper’s Khari Washington, currently ranked second in the nation.
“Brown gave up a quick throw to go down 5-0 early and had to claw his way back into the match,” recounted Brunger.
An escape in the first and second periods closed the gap to 5-2 entering the third period. Brown gave Washington an escape to make it 6-2 and quickly took him down to close it to 6-4.
“Knowing that turning him for back points would be difficult, he let him escape again and spent the rest of the period going after another takedown before time expired, falling just short,” said Brunger. “The positive thing is that Jacob got stronger as the match wore on, giving him confidence as the season progresses.”
“The whole team got a good look today at what the competition will be like in our national qualifier,” he concluded.
Other impressive Jayhawk performances included: third places by both Tom Bolday (Emmett, MI/Capac) at 125 pounds and Matt Henry (Durand, MI/Owosso) at 197 pounds and Trenton Spivey (Farwell, MI/Farwell) placing fifth at 125 pounds.
#3 MCC Wrestlers Beat #19 Mercyhurst North East
The nationally third-ranked MCC wrestlers defeated 19th ranked Mercyhurst North East 28-20 on Friday night in competition at Niagara CC in Sanborn, N.Y.
A trio of Jayhawks wrestlers pinned their opponents to spur the victory. Eric Telford (Bancroft, MI/Durand) pinned Jim Bennett in 3:57 at 165 pounds, Jacob Brown (Conklin, MI/Coopersville) pinned Eric Kiry in 5:42 at 174 pounds, and Cody Wolever (Hesperia, MI/Hesperia) pinned Matt Knapp in 6:27 at 285 pounds.
At 197 pounds, MCC’s Matt Henry (Durand, MI/Owosso) earned a 16-4 major decision over Brian Slattery, while 133-pounder Jarred Lilyhorn (Saline, MI/Ypsilanti Lincoln) won by forfeit.
Telford Named Outstanding Wrestler; Joins Brown, Ruppert as Niagara Open Winners
MCC sophomore 157-pounder Eric Telford (Bancroft, MI/Durand) won the Outstanding Wrestler Award, while teammates Jacob Brown (Conklin, MI/Coopersville) and Steven Ruppert (Reed City, MI/Reed City) also captured championships at the Niagara County Trailblazer Open in Sanborn, NY on Saturday.
“I am very pleased with the way the team performed this weekend,” said MCC Coach Mark Brunger, who had nine wrestlers earn hardware. “The great thing is we wrestled well enough to perform better than the other teams here, but we still have plenty to work on to keep improving as the season progresses. We have yet to do our best wrestling.”
Telford pinned three opponents before defeating Garrett Singer of Penn State-Dubois 12-7 in the finals. Meanwhile, Brown defended his Niagara Open crown by defeating teammate Trevor Curtice (Delton, MI/Delton-Kellogg) in the 174-pound title match. Ruppert downed Ryan Guynup of Jamestown College 13-6 in the 141-pound finale.
Other Jayhawks placers were: Eric Brooks (Lansing, MI/Waverly) fourth at 125 pounds; Tom Bolday (Emmett, MI/Capac) fifth at 184 pounds; Matt Henry (Durand, MI/Owosso) fifth at 197 pounds; Cody Wolever (Hesperia, MI/Hesperia) third and Cody VanDonkelaar (Muskegon, MI/Orchard View) third and fourth, respectively, at 285 pounds.
The Jayhawks travel to Triton College next weekend for the Art Kraft Memorial Tournament.
Ruppert, Wolever Place at Concordia Meet
Two MCC wrestlers placed Saturday at the Concordia Open in Mequon, WI, where the 25-team tournament was stacked with four-year colleges and 40-50 grapplers in each weight class.
MCC freshman 141-pounder Steven Ruppert (Reed City, MI/Reed City), who came into the tournament unseeded, took fifth place. He drew the number two seed in his first match of the day and lost a tough 8-4 decision. In the double elimination format he wrestled back notching seven wins including impressive wins over the 9th, 8th, 5th and 1st seeds.
Jayhawks’ 285 pounder Cody Wolever (Hesperia, MI/Hesperia) finished in eighth place with a 3-3 mark on the day.
MCC had three other wrestlers finish the day with winning records: 157-pounder Eric Telford (Bancroft, MI/Durand) was 5-and both 197-pounder Matt Henry (Durand, MI/Owosso) and 285-pounder Cody VanDonkelaar (Muskegon, MI/Orchard View) posted 3-2 marks.
“We are always excited to come to this tournament and show that a small junior college can compete well at this level,” said Jayhawks Coach Mark Brunger. “Although we didn’t have as much success in placements as we did a year ago, I’m very pleased at just how tough all the wrestlers competed. The guys just battled all day long.”
Telford, Brown Win Titles at Ben McMullen Open
MCC 157-pounder Eric Telford (Bancroft, MI/Durand) and 174-pounder Jake Brown (Conklin, MI/Coopersville) won titles in the Ben McMullen Open held Saturday at Bartels-Rode Gymnasium.
Telford, a returning All-American who’s ranked second nationally, posted four victories including a 3-0 decision over Calib Rought, an unattached wrestler who will be competing for the Jayhawks next semester.
Brown, who also won four times on Saturday, earned a 10-6 decision over Olivet’s Nick Allen in the title match.
“I am extremely pleased,” said MCC Coach Mark Brunger, whose squad was coming off wins against Triton and Alma the night before. “I thought we came out a little flat yesterday but we got back on track. I think that carried over today.”
The Jayhawks had four grapplers finish second. Lincoln’s Ethan Roley beat MCC’s Steven Ruppert (Reed City, MI/Reed City) 12-2 in the 141-pound bracket. In a battle between two of the nation’s best 149-pounders, top-ranked Mark Marianovich from Lincoln got a takedown as time expired for a 4-3 win over MCC’s Sean Turner (Monroe, MI/Monroe), ranked third nationally. Jayhawks Luke Faultersack (Coloma, MI/Coloma) defeated Olivet’s Jacob Gould 10-5 for third place in that bracket.
At 184 pounds, MCC freshmen Tom Bolday (Emmett, MI/Capac) fell 13-5 to returning All-American Michel Johnson. Lincoln’s Matt Dwyer pinned Jayhawk Matt Henry (Durand, MI/Owosso) in 5:55 to take the 197 title. At heavyweight, MCC’s Cody Wolever (Hesperia, MI/Hesperia) downed teammate Cody Vandonkelaar (Muskegon, MI/Orchard View) 3-1 for third place.
“Lincoln is a team that we will definitely have to contend with,” said Brunger. “We are getting better and we’ll have a few new guys next semester. We are definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
The Jayhawks return to action next weekend as one of only two junior college squads competing outside Milwaukee at the 25-team Concordia (WI) Open in Mequon, WI.
Wrestlers Defeat Alma, Triton in Muskegon Duals
Ranked third in the nation, the MCC wrestlers opened the season at home by defeating Triton College 27-16 and Alma College 30-16 on Friday night in Bartels-Rode Gymnasium.
The Triton Trojans led MCC 16-6 before the Jayhawks took the final four matches, including three straight pins, for 21 unanswered points to close out the match.
Freshman Trevor Curtice (Delton, MI/Kellogg) won 8-2 at 174 pounds, then came the three consecutive falls – freshman Cody Steward (Holland, MI/Holland) in 2:17 at 174 pounds, Sophomore Matt Henry (Durand, MI/Owosso) in 2:43 at 197 pounds, and freshman Cody Wolever (Hesperia, MI/Hesperia) in 1:37 at 285 pounds.
Earlier in the contest, MCC freshman Jarrud Ellicott (Casnovia, MI/Kent City) picked up an 8-5 win at 141 pounds and sophomore Eric Telford, ranked second in the country at 157 pounds, won 11-4.
“Our goal is to get everyone as many matches as possible so we wrestled seven different wrestlers in the second match,” said Jayhawks Coach Mark Brunger. “The freshmen are coming off successful high school career and they think there are going to be easy warm-up matches. There are no warm-up matches. We need to pressure them a little better. They caught us on our heels a little bit. We also need to work on conditioning.”
In the nightcap victory over Alma, Coach Brunger credited his experienced grapplers.
“I like the way our sophomores stepped up for us,” he said, singling out Luke Faultersack (Coloma, MI/Coloma), Eric Telford, Jake Brown (Conklin, MI/Coopersville), Matt Henry and Cody Vandonkelaar (Muskegon, MI/Orchad View).
Faultersack, ranked sixth nationally, won 8-4 at 149 pounds. Telford pinned Alma’s Brandon McLaughlin in 3:36 at 157 pounds. Jake Brown beat Alma’s highly recruited former scholastic state champ Jared Groeneveld by a 9-4 margin. Henry got a pin at 197 pounds in2:49 and Vandonkelaar, who returns to the MCC line-up after a year’s absence, pinned Alma’s Brock Neeson in just 29 seconds.
Jayhawks first-year wrestler Steven Ruppert (Reed City, MI/Reed City) pinned his opponent in 2:57 at 141 pounds.
MCC Wrestling Ranked Third in Nation
The Muskegon Community College wrestling team is ranked third in the nation among National Junior College Athletic Association teams by themat.com. The pre-season poll was released on Nov. 1.
Iowa Central held the top spot with 104.5 points, followed by Clackamas CC (Oregon) with 81.5 and MCC with 65.5 points.