Jimmies take 12 to NAIA qualifierA dozen Jamestown College wrestlers take a shot at qualifying for nationals today in Fremont, Neb. Half, or maybe a few more, have a legit chance at advancing. C.J. Campbell’s Jimmies have had an up and down season, but enter the North Region Qualifier with some optimism.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
A dozen Jamestown College wrestlers take a shot at qualifying for nationals today in Fremont, Neb.
Half, or maybe a few more, have a legit chance at advancing.
C.J. Campbell’s Jimmies have had an up and down season, but enter the North Region Qualifier with some optimism.
“I wouldn’t say I’m pleased with the season as a whole, but I do feel pretty comfortable with the position we’re in right now,” Campbell said. “Two weeks from now, we’d like to have three or four All-Americans, which Jamestown College has not done since 2002. To get that opportunity we have to wrestle well (today).”
The Jimmies’ lineup is very strong at the top. Ellendale native Sean Blumhardt is ranked sixth nationally at 125. He’s battled injuries during the season, but has won 10 of his 15 matches in his final campaign. He also has postseason experience, earning All-American honors in 2011.
Other likely sure-things for the Jimmies are freshman Dillon Kifer and sophomore Michael Nord. Kifer has 20 wins as a freshman at 141 and is ranked 11th in the NAIA.
Nord has been dominant at 165 and is a legit threat to win a national title. The Enderlin native is 23-4 and has just one loss to an NAIA opponent.
Campbell also likes sophomore Antonio Lopez’s chances of qualifying. He’s went 9-8 at heavyweight.
Jaykob Miller (157), Sam Brown (149) and Marlon Branson (174) are the Jimmies’ other best hopes.
Miller has 13 wins this season.
Brown and Branson are both seniors. Brown has been reliable if nothing else, logging 40 matches at 149, winning 21 of them. Branson, meanwhile, has gotten on the mat only 11 times after overcoming a significant knee injury sustained at this meet last season.
“It’s their senior year, so they’ll give it everything they got,” Campbell said.
Other JC wrestlers scheduled to compete include Coby Horner and Eddy Wilson at 133, Tyler Schnaubert (149), Johnny Gonzalez (165) and Tucker Davison (174). Joey Murillo (125) and Brian Kaehler (197) are along as alternates. The top four finishers in each weight class advance to nationals.
“It’s a good experience for our guys, especially the young ones, but at the same time, we want to perform at a high level. That’s important as we build the program,” Campbell said. “We’re healthy all the way through and ready to go.”