Council Bluffs, Iowa - It had been an amazing season for the RCTC Yellowjackets Wrestling team as they headed into the NJCAA National Championships this past weekend. The Jackets had alread finished 2nd in the NJCAA National Duals, won the MCAC Duals going 40-0 in matches during the Dual tournament, and rolled to the North District Championship. To top it off, Coach Randy Rager was named NWCA Non-Scholarship National Coach of the Year before the start of the National Tournament. All of this, however, was just a preview of the statement the Yellowjackets made at the National meet.
Keep in mind that RCTC competes as an NJCAA Division III College in all sports. This means NO athletic scholarships are permitted, however at the NJCAA Wrestling Championships all teams (scholarship and non-scholarship) compete together.
The Yellowjackets in-season success set the tone for what was to come at Nationals, as RCTC lead the overall team standings after the first session. The Jackets had 40 points after session one as they lead eventual overall national champion (and scholarship school) Clackamas 40-35.5. At the end of Day one and with 6 wrestlers still in contention for a national title, the Jackets held the number two spot in the overall standings (79.5 points to Clackamas 84).
As final results began to pour in on Day two, it was clear that the Jackets were on their way to a stunning result. The Jackets finished the tournament with (SIX) 6 All-Americans, a third place overall finish and a DIVISION III NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!
Jacket results included: Francis Fuenffinger, who after a tough first match loss, won his next two bouts, before finishing 2-2 on the weekend. Brandon Kidd and John Noll also finished the meet 2-2.
Yellowjacket All-Americans included:
Gavin Christoffersen; 184 lbs - seventh place finish and a 25-16 overall record
Jeremiah Colon; 174 lbs - sixth place finish and a 20-9 overall record
Parker Dobrocky; 133 lbs - sixth place and a 29-10 overall record
Seth Brossard; 165 lbs - fourth place and a 36-10 overall record
Richard Hammonds III; 197 lbs - third place finish and a 27-5 overall record
Auston Hall; 141 lbs - RUNNER-UP and a 18-7 overall record
Hall's amazing tournament featured a run to the final to take on Blake Gonzalez from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, unfortunately an injury ended the match early, but could not take away from the run to the final.
In addition to the Jackets run to the title, RCTC won two big awards after the Championships. Coach Randy Rager was honored as NJCAA Coach of the Year, to go along with the NWCA award he received before the tournament, and Freshman All-American Richie Hammonds was given the Sportsmanship Award.
RCTC has now won the NJCAA Division III National Championship THREE (3) times, and has a total of 90 All-Americans.