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Engen & Wiliams qualify for NJCAA Wrestling Nationals

Two Northland Community & Technical College wrestlers have qualified to compete in the 2014 NJCAA National Wrestling Championships Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, March 1 in Spokane, Washington.

Automatic qualifying spots were awarded to the top five finishers in each weight class at the NJCAA North Central District in Spencer, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 16. Qualifying for the Pioneers were Jordan Engen, second place at 165 pounds, and Craig Williams, third place at 184 pounds.

“Jordan and Craig proved this weekend that they can compete with anyone in the NJCAA,” said head coach Scott DCamp. “They are both wrestling with a lot of confidence.”

Engen, currently ranked eighth in the NJCAA at 165 pounds, entered the tournament as the number two seed. He defeated a pair of MCAC opponents enroute to the championship match, beating Rochester’s Ben Tinkham 9-2 in the quarterfinals and Ridgewater’s Zach Revier 11-2 in the semifinal round. Engen’s victory over Revier also earned him Northland’s first individual MCAC/MCCC state title in more than 40 years.

Engen’s bid for a championship fell short in a 9-7 overtime loss to second ranked Ritchie Guillaume of Ellsworth Community College.

Williams’ road to the national tournament included a pair of wins over ranked opponents. After dropping his quarterfinal bout against 11th ranked Quinten Swanberg of Iowa Western, Williams concluded the tournament with three consecutive wins to take third. He pinned Michael Licht of Iowa Central, defeated 12th ranked Andy Glaser 6-5 and avenged his loss to Swanberg with a second-period fall.

Also competing for the Pioneers was Cole Christianson. His tournament was cut short after a knee injury in the opening round against Josh Vaughan of Rochester forced him to default out of the tournament.