CONCORDIA, Kansas — The final result was all but assured Friday night in the No. 12 ranked Cloud County Community College wrestling team's dual against Oklahoma Wesleyan University, with the visiting Eagles fielding just five of the 10 weight classes.
What head coach Cody Cole wanted to see was progress from his team coming off its victory over Ottawa University on Thursday night, and the T-Birds delivered with a 42-9 victory over the Eagles.
"We saw more aggressiveness and we wrestled significantly better than we did (Thursday)," Cole said. "We still have a lot to clean up before we head into the second semester. Coach (Derek) Koehn and I will rack our brains on that, but overall I thought we saw a lot more heart and passion tonight."
Cloud County redshirt freshman Austin Eldredge, wrestling in his first match since Nov. 4 when he suffered a knee injury at the Oklahoma City University Open to begin the year, started the evening with a dominating 16-0 tech fall win over Oklahoma Wesleyan's Joe Jones at 149-pounds.
Eldredge, who the coaching staff believes has an All-American type ceiling, has waded through injuries in each of the last two seasons, but is back healthy and sitting at 6-1 overall following his first win inside Arley Bryant Gymnasium.
"Eldredge is a really talented kid on top and wrestles really hard all the time," Cole said. "We'll use this break to clean some things up, but overall I thought he came out with some fire and got us going in the right direction. This was the first time he's gotten to wrestle here against another team and not just the Black and Gold scrimmage, so it was great to see him get to compete in the home arena and roll around a little bit."
Cloud County freshman Quentin Jiner, ranked No. 6 in the NJCAA polls at 157-pounds, followed with an exciting 11-9 come-from-behind victory over Austin Daniels.
Jiner trailed 6-2 early in the first period before countering with a reversal and two-point nearfall to sway the momentum back in his favor.
"Quentin wrestled really well. He gave up six points in that first period but was able to come back, chip away at the lead and get into a position to win that match," Cole said. "When he wrestles our style and moves his feet, he does a great job. When you can come back from a deficit like that a get a victory it's a good way to head into break."
Sophomore 165-pounder Noah Aziere claimed the other victory for Cloud County on Friday, jumping out to a huge 14-2 lead on Oklahoma Wesleyan's Grant Williams through two periods en route to a 15-2 major decision.
The T-Birds will now join the rest of their peers on Christmas break before returning to action on Thursday, January 10th at home against Central Christian College.
With a semester down, two home duals wins and a national ranking in place before the new year, Cole said he is pleased with where the team currently sits but hopes there is more in store for the T-Birds in 2019.
"We've seen huge improvements so far off the bottom from the beginning of the year. We're getting escapes and doing a lot of good things," Cole said. "We need to continue to clean up some things when we're on our feet if we're going to continue to be nationally ranked. We've kind of gotten complacent on a lot of counter scores and we need to get back to an attack-style offense."
125 Albert Werden (Cloud County) win via forfeit
133 Brady Lowell (Cloud County) win via forfeit
141 Dakota Miller (Cloud County) win via forfeit
149 Austin Eldredge (Cloud County) over Joe Jones (Oklahoma Wesleyan) (TF 16-0)
157 Quentin Jiner (Cloud County) over Austin Daniels (Oklahoma Wesleyan) (Dec 11-9)
165 Noah Aziere (Cloud County) over Grant Williams (Oklahoma Wesleyan) (MD 15-2)
174 Dailen Presgrove (Oklahoma Wesleyan) over Jayden Creach (Cloud County) (Fall 2:05)
184 Ridge Smith (Oklahoma Wesleyan) over Cameron Young (Cloud County) (Dec 3-0)
197 Zach Bowen (Cloud County) win via forfeit
285 Benny Hernandez (Cloud County) win via forfeit
Team Score: 42-9