CHADRON, Neb. — October 30, 2018 — The Chadron State College wrestling team opens its season on Saturday in Laramie, Wyoming, after receiving some positive recognition from the National Wrestling Coaches Association on Monday.
The NCAA Division II coaches’ organization released its preseason rankings, based on a committee vote, which lists the Eagles tied for No. 21 in the nation. Chadron State enters its first open meet as the second-highest ranked team in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and the third-highest in Super Region 6.
Additionally, no other conference team has more individual wrestlers beginning the season in the top 12 of the weight class rankings. Three CSC wrestlers received rankings at their respective weights.
Brock Thumm, the regional runner-up last season in Super Region 4, received a No. 3 ranking at 141 pounds. Of the returning national qualifiers from last year’s 141-pound bracket, he advanced further, to the consolation second round, than all but two others. Those two are No. 1 Joe Calderon of LIU-Post and No. 2 Isaiah Royal of Newberry, Thumm’s first round opponent at the 2018 NCAA meet.
Reigning 197-pound National Junior College Athletic Association champion Wade French was ranked No. 9 in the nation entering his first NCAA season after transferring from Western Wyoming College. Returning All-Americans Vince Dietz of St. Cloud State and Konnor Schmidt of Western State are the No. 1 and No. 2 wrestlers in French’s 197-pound weight class. Chadron State is scheduled to dual both teams this season.
Finally, heavyweight Rulon Taylor made it in the rankings at No. 12. His weight class is led by returning national finalists Terrance Fanning of Wheeling Jesuit and Kameron Teacher of Notre Dame College. The champion at last year’s NCAA Super Region 4 Championships, Jarrod Hinrichs of Nebraska-Kearney, is No. 3.
Twenty-three CSC wrestlers will travel to Laramie for the University of Wyoming Cowboy Open, which is the team’s season-opener for the fourth consecutive season.
Chadron State will enter 14 in the tournament’s Elite brackets, made up of wrestlers who have competed for a season or more, and there the team will be represented in 9 of 10 weight classes. They are Brandon Kile at 133; Chance Karst at 141; Caleb Haskell and Chase Clasen at 149; Jacob Otuafi at 157; Tate Allison at 165; Matt Hebel and Johnny Porter at 174; Jay Westcott at 184; Aspen Naylor and Heber Shepherd at 197; and Wade French, Rulon Taylor, and Andrew Wilson at 285.
Another nine men will enter one of six amateur weight classes. Clay Eagle will be the only CSC entry at 125 pounds. The others are Joe Taylor and Jeffrey Phillips at 133; Steven Lahnert at 157; Tucker Allison and Kodiak French at 174; Terry Winstead at 184; and Eli Hinojosa and Mason Watt at 285.
Last year’s Cowboy Open featured 20 college wrestling teams from junior colleges, NAIA, and NCAA Divisions I and II. Karst placed third in the amateur 141-pound bracket as a freshman, and Joe Ritzen won the 133-pound amateur bracket as an unattached wrestler while redshirting.