COLBY -- In their final regular-season action of the year, the number 28 nationally-ranked Cloud County Community College wrestling team would take sixth-place overall at the 2020 Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference duals held inside the Colby Community Center in Colbyon Sunday and Monday.
The two-day dual meet would feature all eight KJCCC schools as each school would intertwine in four cross-division matches to close out the conference dual slate. Sunday would see the T-Birds drop a 33-12 decision to number 17 Neosho and 35-12 decision to number 29 Labette while Monday saw CCCC fall 28-24 to number 22 Pratt and 35-9 to number 17 Cowley.
Open weight classes and bonus points for the Panthers in contested matches would be the biggest difference in the dual as the T-Birds would get wins at 133 pounds by Blake Leiszler (5-1 decision), Kevin Murry at 197 pounds (fall), and Elwin Trejo at 285 pounds (5-1 decision). With Cloud County having open weight classes at 157 pounds and 174 pounds, the Panthers would pick up the 12 points conceded in the three matches won by the T-Birds and add a decision at 125 pounds and 165 pounds to go along with falls at 141 and 149 pounds to come away with the victory.
Both the T-Birds and the Cardinals would have an open weight (Cloud County at 165 pounds, Labette at 285 pounds) which left just eight contested matches to determine the outcome in the day one nightcap of the duals. Blayne Harris would get Cloud County off to a victory with a 3-0 decision at 125 pounds before seeing Labette respond with a 7-5 decision at 133 pounds. CCCC would then be deducted one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct and see the Cardinals go on to earn a fall at 141 pounds and 4-1 decision at 149 pounds to go up 12-2. Tristin Hauck would get Cloud County back on the scoreboard with a 10-1 major decision at 157 pounds, but the Cardinals would go on to earn two falls and a technical fall in the final three contested matches as the T-Birds would not have an answer at the upper weight classes.
Looking to bounce back against the number 22 Beavers, the opening dual of the day on Monday would come down to the final two matches of the morning as the first four matches would be split between the two teams followed by two open weight classes for each team in the middle weights. CCCC's wins in the lower classes would come courtesy of Leiszler at 133 pounds (9-2 decision) and Aiden Connors at 141 pounds (fall at 4:40) while Pratt would take a 14-2 major decision at 125 pounds and a fall at 149 pounds to grab a 10-9 lead after four matches. Cloud County would give up open weights at 157 pounds and 165 pounds, but see the Beavers be open at 174 pounds and 184 pounds to keep things at a one-point dual going to 197 pounds. Pratt would seal the dual with a 33-second fall at 197 pounds before conceding a 7-5 sudden-victory win for Elwin Trejo at 285 pounds as the T-Birds would come up just short of earning the victory.
A strong start by Cloud County would be quickly erased by three open weight classes for the T-Birds as the Tigers would be able to fill all 10 weights and earn victories in four of the seven contested matches. After Harris (125 pounds) and Leiszler (133 pounds) would get CCCC on the board with a 4-0 and 7-6 decision, Cowley would come back at 141 pounds with a 12-4 major decision to close the gap to 6-4. Nate Normandin would earn Cloud County's final victory of the duals with a 4-3 decision at 149 pounds to put the T-Birds up 9-4, but Cowley would take open weight victories at 157 pounds, 174 pounds, and 184 pounds while also taking a fall in 1:09 at 165 pounds. With the dual victory in hand, Cowley would go on to earn an 18-3 technical fall at 197 pounds and a 3-2 decision at 285 pounds to wrap things up for the T-Birds in Colby.
Cloud County will take the rest of the week off in preparations for post-season wrestling which will begin on Feb. 22 when the T-Birds travel to Miami, Oklahoma to wrestle in the West-Central District Tournament. The one-day tournament will serve as the precursor to the 2020 NJCAA National Meet with the T-Birds looking to qualify wrestlers in multiple weight classes for a chance at a National Title.