Council Bluffs, IA - The Spartanburg Methodist College wrestling team wrestled at the NJCAA National Wrestling Championships this past weekend finishing in 21st place. All 5 SMC wrestlers in attendance scored points for the Pioneers helping with that finish.
Evan Makupson at 184lbs came the closest to making it onto the podium. Evan was a wildcard bid out of the North Eastern District II Championships, and at the National Tournament he went 3-2 missing out on being an All-American by 1 win. Makupson drew the number 2 rank wrestler in the country Tristan Ramberg from Labette first round of the tournament. Losing that match 11-0 he then came back beating his next 3 opponents in a row all by bonus point victories. He ultimately met Nathan Holecek of Northland Community College in the "blood round" dropping that match 6-5 in a close battle.
Aaron Fountain at 141lbs and Marvin Galette at 133lbs both went 2-2 at the tournament. On that contrary to Makupson, Marvin and Aaron both won their first round matches. In Aarons second round match he narrowly lost a decision 14-12 to Trey Waltz. Marvin on the other hand lost to the #3 ranked wrestler from Iowa Lakes 11-2. Both won their next matches but found themselves on the wrong side of a decision in their final match. Aaron lost 8-3 to the number 7 ranked wrestler in the country from Rochester.
Christopher Moungle and Cole Franklin both had byes to start off their tournament. Cole dropped his first match to the number 4 ranked wrestler in the country from Labette, Shea Conley. Cole lost on a last second effort by Conley giving up a takedown in the final ten seconds. Moungle dropped his first round match to the eventual 5th place finisher from Otero, Anthony Hinkle. Both won their next matches by bonus point victories only to lose the following matches.
All in all the Pioneers earned 6 wins by bonus point victories, with a total record at the tournament of 9-10. SMC scored the most point in the tournament without having an All-American, scoring hirer than some teams with All-Americans. "It was an improvement on last year," says Coach Oliver, "we definitely did not wrestle to our potential by any stretch of the mean, but we had a lot of young guys who have never been to the national tournament before let alone to a tournament of this magnitude, and that can be a lot sometimes." SMC brought 4 freshman to the national tournament and 1 sophomore, improving on their 24th place finish the year before.
To check out full results, brackets and team points from the NJCAA National Championships check out the link below.