COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — With eight wrestlers in tow, the Labette Cardinals competed at the NJCAA Championships in Iowa over the weekend.
Heavyweight Micah Lieberman was the only Labette wrestler to earn All-American status, placing seventh in the division.
Lieberman opened the national tournament with two wins – a 2-1 decision over Myles Norris of Clackamas and a pin of Shane Edwards of Southwestern Michigan before getting pinned by Kawaun Deboe of Indian Hills.
Lieberman won his next match, pinning Jose Ramos of Harper, before losing a 6-4 decision to Hugo Harp of Iowa Central.
The Labette heavyweight won his final match by pinning Nate Beberg of Rochester.
At 133 pounds, Romelle Person-Williams of Labette went 3-2. Paul Ruff of Iowa Western beat Person-Williams via 5-3 decision in the first round.
Person-Williams won his next three bouts – a 7-3 decision over Bray Skinner of Cloud County, a technical fall over Barton’s Setphan Baldwin and a major decision over Jacob Waddoups of Snow.
Person-Williams was eliminated with a 6-2 decision loss of Braydon Mogle of Northeastern.
Jazen Brown of Labette at 141 pounds went 2-2 at the national tournament. Brown’s first opponent, Boburjon Birdiyoroz of Northwest College, won a 10-9 decision. In his next bout, Brown pinned Kyler Rodriguez of Middlesex.
In his third bout, Brown won a 10-7 decision over La’ron Ruffin of St. Clair before being ousted via an 8-4 decision to Isaac Church of North Iowa Area.
Traylon Jackson, who qualified for nationals at 149 pounds for Labette, went 0-2 with falls to Kris Ketchum of Nassau and Nate Young of Mott.
Jonathan Vincent at 157 pounds went 2-2 for Labette.
Vincent opened with a 6-1 decision loss to Connor Svantner of Triton. Vincent followed up with a 7-0 decision win over Oscar Serrano of Union and a pin of Ethan Ferro of Niagara.
Vincent was then eliminated by a 10-7 decision loss to Troy Pacetti of Joliet.
At 165 pounds, Labette’s Matthew Smith went 0-2 with a fall to Kent Beecham of Rochester and a 4-1 decision loss to Isaiah Toomey of Southwestern Oregon.
Labette’s Troy Connor went 0-2 at 174 pounds, suffering a technical fall to Grant Lyman of Iowa Western and a 6-2 decision to Josiah Green of Umpqua.
In the 184-pound division, Labette’s Jeremiah Voliva went 2-2. Voliva won his first match, a 12-6 decision, over Kayleb Venema of Muskegon.
Voliva dropped his next bout, a 12-9 decision to John Colburne of Iowa Lakes.
Facing Travis Waldner of North Idaho, Voliva won a 4-3 decision before getting pinned by Blake Jouret of Pratt.
“I am proud of this group they have wrestled well all season,” Labette head coach Jeff Vesta said. “To qualify for the national tournament is a great accomplishment in itself. I wish our sophomores nothing but the best and we will move right into finding them a new university to wrestle at and call home for the next couple years. We also have an amazing group of freshman returning next season that we are very excited about.”
Labette finished 24th in the team standings with 24 points.
Western Wyoming walked away with the NJCAA national title with 134 points.
Pratt (112.5), Iowa Western (106.5), NEO A&M (94) and North Idaho (93) rounded out the top five.
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