CONCORDIA, Kansas — Three empty weights, and a late injury to freshman heavyweight Benny Hernandez, skewed Monday's dual score, 33-14, between the Cloud County Community College wrestling team and the visiting Cowley College Tigers.
Cloud County won three of the seven matches wrestled, and Hernandez held a 2-1 lead with 1:38 remaining in the first period in the dual finale, until he had to exit with a hyperextended elbow.
"I think we competed at every weight class," said Cloud County Community College head coach, Cody Cole.
After falling in a 15-0 hole, due in large part to two open weights, the T-Birds made things interesting through the middle weights as freshman Tylor Garcia (149), sophomore Ryan Delforge (157) and redshirt freshman Noah Aziere (165) rattled off three straight wins to bring Cloud within one at 15-14.
The trio were dominating as Garcia, now 2-0 in his young collegiate career, earned a 12-4 major decision win over Braden O'Donnell. Delforge followed with a pin of Taylor Antoine in 4:34, while Aziere capped the run off with a 13-2 major decision over Shawn Dent.
"I can't say enough about those three guys in the middle," Cole said. "They come in every day to the room and they compete and push each other. It has shown in these last two duals what they can do when they work out with each other, push each other, and how good they are."
The T-Birds received strong performances from their upper weight classes, as well, though the matches didn't net any points.
"Our upper weights battled. With Hosteen Smith, we hadn't seen that this year where he pushed all three periods and nearly came away with a 'W,'" Cole said. "So overall, though we lost, I think we're heading in the right direction."
The competitive nature of every match on Monday has Cole hopeful the T-Birds can challenge for a dual win when they see the Tigers again on January 24 in Arkansas City.
"I think if we can fill some weight classes, it'd be real interesting to wrestle them again, which we thankfully get to do," Cole said. "I hope we fill that night and I think we can."
Cloud County will now take a break from KJCCC dual action to head out to the Midwest Duals this Friday in Kearney, Nebraska.
"Mat time," said Cole when asked what his team will be looking to accomplish Friday. "Mat time against good teams. We're going to see some really good junior college teams out of Iowa. We'll get to see Nebraska-Kearney's backups, and we'll see a pretty good NAIA team out of the Dakotas. We're going to try to get our guys in that mindset of having five tough matches in a day and see how they perform."
125: Marcelino Lopez (Cowley College) forfeit.
133: Tyler West (Cowley College) over Tanner McGivney (Cloud County), (10-6 Dec.)
141: Justus Circle (Cowley College) forfeit.
149: Tylor Garcia (Cloud County) over Braden O'Donnell (Cowley College), (12-4 Major Dec.)
157: Ryan Delforge (Cloud County) over Taylor Antoine (Cowley College), (Fall 4:34)
165: Noah Aziere (Cloud County) over Shawn Dent (Cowley College), (13-2 Major Dec.)
174: Blake Sandborn-Johnson (Cowley College) forfeit.
184: Jake Parker (Cowley College) over Hosteen Smith (Cloud County), (3-1 Dec.)
197: James Johnson (Cowley College) over Zeb Bloom (Cloud County ), (6-2 Dec.)
Heavyweight: Seth Stroble (Cowley College) over Benny Hernandez (Injury Default)