CONCORDIA, Kansas — After spending the first six weeks of the season in other people's gyms, the Cloud County Community College wrestling team got the opportunity Thursday to wrestle on their home mats, rolling to a 31-13 dual win over Ottawa University.
It wasn't the cleanest of efforts, but the T-Birds reached the desired result as they won six of the eight matches wrestled.
"It was nice to come out with a win. I thought we had a good crowd for it being the start of Christmas break and we appreciated the support," said Cloud County head coach, Cody Cole. "We just have to open up more. We're too conservative right now and we need to start wrestling a little more offensively and aggressively."
The No. 12 ranked T-Birds simply outgunned the visiting Braves on Thursday, grabbing a firm hold on the dual from the opening moments as freshman 125-pounder Blayne Harris started the night off with a 9-4 decision win.
In a quick blink, after a forfeited weight at 133 pounds by Ottawa and a dominating performance from freshman Dakota Miller at 141 pounds staked the T-Birds out to a 15-0 lead.
Miller, the No. 7 ranked 133-pounder at the NJCAA level, wrestled up Thursday and more than held his own as he pinned Ottawa's Armand Kenepaske in 2:06 of the first period.
"Dakota bumping up to 141 for us and getting a fall was huge," Cole stated.
Ottawa got on the scoreboard with an open weight for Cloud County at 149 pounds prior to a showdown between the T-Birds' No. 7 ranked 157-pounder Quentin Jiner and Cloud County alumnus Ryan Delforge; the No. 20 ranked 157-pounder at the NAIA level.
Jiner and Delforge battled it out in a high-scoring affair, with Delforge pulling away late for an 18-10 major decision win.
"We obviously want to win every match our guys are in, but it was nice to see someone you once coached get to the level Ryan's at now as a nationally ranked wrestler in NAIA," Cole said. "It was nice to see him come out and use some of the things we taught him and mix in what he's learning now."
Delforge's win pulled Ottawa back within five at 15-10, but the T-Birds would create some distance in the upper weights as sophomore Noah Aziere (165), redshirt freshmen Jayden Creach (174) and Zach Bowen (197), and sophomore Benny Hernandez (285) all rattled off victories to conclude the evening.
For Creach, a native of Ottawa, Kansas, his 8-4 decision over Preston Allen was his first collegiate victory.
Aziere's win came via the 12-2 major decision variety, No. 6 ranked Hernandez pushed through for a 9-5 decision win, and Bowen earned the second pin of the night for the T-Birds with a fall time of 4:20 against Ottawa's Xavier Schecter.
"Zach stayed in really good position (Thursday). There's some things to clean up with technique, but overall he's a real scrappy kid," Cole said. "He wrestled hard the whole time, so it was good to see him get a fall."
Cloud County will look to build off Thursday's victory when it turns right around and hosts Oklahoma Wesleyan University at 6 p.m. tomorrow to conclude the fall semester portion of its schedule.
125 Blayne Harris (Cloud County) over Raul Lopez (Ottawa University) (Dec 9-4)
133 Brady Lowell (Cloud County) win via forfeit
141 Dakota Miller (Cloud County) over Armand Kenepaske (Ottawa University) (Fall 2:06)
149 Cesar Villanueva (Ottawa University) win via forfeit
157 Ryan Delforge (Ottawa University) over Quentin Jiner (Cloud County) (MD 18-10)
165 Noah Aziere (Cloud County) over Stephan Gordon (Ottawa University) (MD 12-2)
174 Jayden Creach (Cloud County) over Preston Allen (Ottawa University) (Dec 8-4)
184 Santino Gee (Ottawa University) over Matt Cruickshank (Cloud County) (Dec 12-9)
197 Zach Bowen (Cloud County) over Xavier Schecter (Ottawa University) (Fall 4:20)
285 Benny Hernandez (Cloud County) over Dalton Sikes (Ottawa University) (Dec 9-5)