CSC Men Hosting Three Dual Matches Sunday

Photo Courtesy/Carter Hattery/CSC Sports Information

 The Chadron State College men’s wrestling team won’t be competing at home often this season, but one of them is this Sunday, Dec. 4, when the Eagles will host a triple dual in the Chicoine Center.

The Eagles’ schedule has them meeting San Francisco State at 9 a.m., Western Colorado at 10:30 and St. Cloud State at noon.  CSC Coach Brett Hunter knows the schedule is not favorable for everyone.

Lots of Chadron-area folks attend church on Sunday mornings, including Hunter, but he said this was the only times it would work to bring three teams, all from hundreds of miles away, to western Nebraska.  He’s hoping that fans can find a way to attend at least some the matches. 

The Eagles’ only other home dates this season are Jan. 19, when Colorado Mesa will visit for an RMAC dual, and Feb. 25, when CSC will host the Super Regional 6 Championships.

The competition on Sunday will be tough and likely get tougher as the action moves along.  San Francisco State is an RMCA affiliate.  The Gators also came to Chadron a year ago to dual the Eagles and Nebraska-Kearney.  CSC won that encounter 26-19, but Hunter believes San Fran State is improved this year.  So are the Eagles, so the opening dual should be interesting.

Hunter thinks Western Colorado may be the best team in the RMAC this winter, although Adams State got the most votes in the preseason poll of the coaches.  The Mountaineers were the runners-up to Kearney at the Super Region 6 showdown last year. They toppled the Eagles 43-9 in a dual in Gunnison last February.

Then there’s St. Cloud State.  The Huskies were the Division II National Champions in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021 and were the runners-up in 2017. No national tourney took place in 2020.

Last year the Minnesota school was fourth in the final team standings. This year the Huskies were second in the coaches’ preseason poll behind only defending national champion UNK.

St. Cloud’s bellwether is Abner Romero, last year’s 174-pound national champion.  As expected, Romero was No. 1 at 174 in the NCAA Division II Coaches Rankings released as the 2022-23 season was about the begin.

Five other Huskies also were among the top 10 in their weight classes in the coaches’ poll. They were at 125—5th, Paxton Creese, 141—2nd, Joe Bianchini, 149—8th, Nick Novak, 157—5th, Colby Njos,  and 165—8th, Anthony Herrera

Two Western Colorado grapplers also made the coaches’ elite listing.  They are Jason Hanenberg, 9th at 149 and Hunter Mullin, 4th at 165.

No Eagles were on the top 10 list, as of Thursday, but several of them had compiled some good records this fall during the first month of the season.  They include at 125—Quade Smith, 8-2; 133—Quen Campbell, 6-1; 141—Ethan Leake, 6-3; 149—Brandon Parades, 9-2; 184—Keegan Gehlhausen, 7-3; and 285—Mason Watt, 5-2.

Campbell, a Georgia native who transferred from North Iowa Area Community College this fall, has been ranked as high at third at 133 pounds by an on-line wrestling entity, but he may not compete on Sunday because of what is believed to be a minor injury that he sustained in the 133-pound finals at the recent Kearney Open Tournament.  He lost the match to Kyle Burwick of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, ending his perfect 6-0 record as a member of the Eagles.

In his previous match, Campbell had decisioned Reece Barnhardt of the University of Mary, who was No. 1 in the DII Coaches Rankings, by a 7-3 score.   

Hunter said “if the chips were down” Campbell could wrestle Sunday, but matches in February are more important than those in December, and it’s not wise to put a wrestler on the mat this time of year if he’s not completely fit.  Campbell’s participation thus will likely be a “match-time” decision.

The Eagles will be without senior Eli Hinojosa of Imperial at 197 pounds.  He suffered a knee injury in his first match of the season, but hopefully will be able to compete again after Christmas. 

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