COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA — For the third time in Clackamas wrestling program history, the Cougars can call themselves NJCAA national champions. Clackamas also won the team title in 1971 and more recently in 2011.
In dominating fashion the Cougars led wire-to-wire in the 2019 edition of the NJCAA Wrestling Championships. The Cougars advanced four into the finals of which they saw Elijah Ozuna (141) and Trajan Hurd (174) claim individual national championships. Entering the final 10 title bouts, it was a foregone conclusion that the Cougars would be champions at the end of the night– entering the Saturday evening round with a 23-point lead over second-place.
The 2018 champions, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, finished in a distant second with 152 team points. The Norsemen saw Boo Dryden (133) and Antonio Andrade (285/HWT) walk away with individual titles.
Iowa Central’s Ethan Karsten (157) and Tyree Sutton (197) had redemption on their minds. Both Tritons lost their respective national title match a year ago but were able to come out on top this time.
Northwest (Kansas) Tech had a breakout year, claiming a pair of individual national champions for the first time in program history. Jordan Marshall won the program’s first title at 125, while Charles Small won at 184.
Cardeionte Wilson (Ellsworth) at 149 and Michial Foy (Harper) at 165 rounded out the 10 individual national champions.
Clackamas point total of 176.5 is a new NJCAA record for a team score at a national tournament.
The result gave the Cougars’ head coach Josh Rhoden his second national title while at the helm of the program. He was also voted by his peers as the Coach of the Year.
It was the third consecutive year that Clackamas, Iowa Central, and NEO finished in the top three, each winning one title in that time.
Four teams (Clackamas, Ellsworth, Iowa Central, and NEO) advanced four wrestlers into the championship finals round.
Ellsworth sent four wrestlers into the championship round for the first time in program history.
Mercyhurst North East’s Hunter Harnish tallied the Bruce Traphagen Award for Most Falls of the championship (5/20:58).
Jamestown (NY) earned Academic Team of the Year honor, accumulating a team 3.28 GPA.
Harper finished with the highest team point total among non-scholarship programs.