Wrestlers win DIII national championship

By Zachary Deppa
Sports Editor

RCTC’s Brett Bradford, wearing the white singlet, wrestles Dayton Racer of Iowa Central Community College in the championship match of the 157-pound weight class in the NJCAA Division national tournament. (Photo courtesy of Abby Rager)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — This year’s RCTC wrestling team performed at an incredible level.

RCTC was the top-ranked non-scholarship team in the 2017 National Junior College Athletic Association Division III national tournament on Feb. 24-25 at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Yellowjackets were ninth overall among all NJCAA teams, but were the overall winner among Division III teams.

“The national tournament was a great experience for our program,” said RCTC Head Wrestling Coach Randy Rager. “The hard work that our guys put in during the season has paid off.  This group is more than a team. It is a family.”

Iowa Central Community College of Fort Dodge, Iowa, finished as the overall team champion with 150 points. Clackamas Community College of Oregon City, Oregon, was second with 146.5. RCTC was the top-finishing non-scholarship team, finishing ninth overall with 61.5 points.

The Yellowjackets advanced to the national NJCAA tournament by winning the 2017 Minnesota College Athletic Conference Region 13 North District tournament championship on Feb. 12 at Northland Community College in Thief River Falls.

The Yellowjackets are also the MCAC Dual Meet Champions of the Year and the MCAC champions for the fifth straight year. RCTC finished ninth in the nation among all NJCAA teams.

Brett Bradford of Byron, who was named MCAC Wrestler of the Year, finished second  nationally in the 157-pound weight class.

Coltan Laganiere of Kasson advanced to the national semifinals and finished sixth at 149 pounds.  RCTC freshman Alfred Daniel, of Manhattan, New York, finished fourth in the national semifinals at 165 pounds.

Due to their performances, Bradford, Laganiere and Daniel earned All-American honors.

Rager was named 2017 NJCAA Division III National Coach of the year for the second time and also named 2017 MCAC Wrestling Coach of the Year for the fifth time.

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