Local Sports Journal

The wrestlers from Muskegon Community College showed they can compete with some of the best competition Division III has to offer.

In the Concordia Open at Concordia University-Wisconsin, the Jayhawks placed six wrestlers in the top seven of their respective weight divisions. That effort was led by three heavyweights, all of whom finished in the top six.

“Our message for out kids was to not be intimidated by the accolades of these tough competitors and to go out on the mat expecting to win,” MCC coach Mark Brunger said. “They did just that. It was an extremely impressive performance from the eighth-ranked NJCAA wrestling squad.”

Heavyweight Brett Martin finished second, Steve Ruppert (141) and Tom Bolday (197) finished fourth, heavyweight Jeffrey Tautolo was fifth, heavyweight Shawn Chamberlain sixth and Dillon Francisco (165) was seventh.

 Included in the field were  two-time defending national champions and to- ranked Wartburg College as well as the following ranked teams:  Elmhurst College (No. 4), UW-Whitewater (No. 5), UW-Stevens Point (No. 15), Wabash College (No. 16), Augustana College (No. 17), University of Dubuque (No. 21) and North Central College (No. 27).

In addition, NCAA Division II teams UW-Parkside (No. 10) and Minnesota University-Mankato (No. 13) also competed.

Martin, of Hesperia, finished runner up to Wartburg heavyweight Ryan Fank, who is a returning All-American and ranked third in Division III.

“It was anybody’s match with 30 seconds to go, tied at 3-3 when the referee awarded a stalling point to Fank, essentially giving him the match,” Brunger said. ” It was a judgment call that went against us.”

Falling just short of placing were Mike Lackney (133) who was 2-2, Colton Callaway (149) 2-2, Garett Edwards (157) 3-2, Nick Starzec (157) 2-2 and Bryce Jacobs (157) 2-2.