The No. 14 ranked Barton Community College Wrestling squad took down two top ten nationally ranked teams Thursday in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on the opening day of the NWCA NJCAA National Duals. Finishing the day 2-1, the Cougars advance to Friday's elite eight beginning at 8:00 a.m. versus No. 15 ranked Nassau Community College.
Forfeiting the 149 weight class in each of the three matches, Barton fell 30-18 to No. 5 Western Wyoming College in their first dual before rallying from a fifteen point deficit to knock off No. 4 ranked Iowa Lakes Community College 28-19. The Cougars then took the mat less than two hours later in continuing their run in the tournament with a 30-21 takedown of No. 7 ranked Rochester Community and Technical College.
Five Cougars went 2-1 on the day but Kade Sander left the mat undefeated including two wins over ranked opponents. Sander began the day with a 4:21 fall against Western Wyoming's Ky Webb before dismantling Iowa Lakes' David Hollingsworth, No. 7 in the lower 149 class, by an 18-2 technical fall score. The Great Bend native wound up his day knocking off Rochester's second ranked Alfred Daniel in a 2:47 fall.
Rebounding from the first round loss to Western Wyoming, the Cougars found themselves down fifteen points to Iowa Lakes before Sander's technical fall victory got Barton on the scoreboard. Trent Miles, who lost to Wyoming's No. 4 ranked Connor Kirkland in a fall midway through the third, delivered a huge win for the Cougars taking down the 184 division top ranked wrestler Isaiah Cox in a first period 1:39 fall. Ethan Dean and No. 5 ranked Brix Brickey carried the momentum to the final two matches, each coming through in earning six point falls in 4:25 and 2:12 respectively to secure the victory.
Andres Duron received a 125 division forfeit giving Barton an early 6-0 lead in the final match, only to have Rochester even the score with a 4:46 fall. Keaton Sander, who dropped a hard fought 7-6 loss to No. 5 ranked Anthony Fisher of Iowa Lakes, outscored No. 6 Auston Hall 10-2 earning a four point major decision. Following the open 149 class, Sander took care of Daniel before Gage McBride concluded his 2-1 day with a resounding 17-1 technical fall in the 165 division. No. 5 ranked David Kelly earned his second win of the day coming out on top 10-7 while Miles capped his two win afternoon with a 4:01 fall giving Barton an eighteen point lead with the final matches going to Rochester's side of the scoreboard.
Looking ahead to Friday's dual against Nassau, Keaton Sander will face the first of three ranked wrestlers on the Lions squad in taking on No. 4 ranked John Arceri. Brother Kade will also face a ranked opponent in No. 5 Antonio LaRocca while Brickey will face No. 7 Edwin Rubio in the 285 division.