Panthers wrestle to third in the nation

The fifth ranked Ellsworth Community College wrestling team traveled to Des Moines to compete in the 2014 NWCA National Duals this past weekend. The field consisted of 16 of the top NJCAA wrestling programs in the country. The Panthers tallied an impressive 3-1 record en route to a third place finish in the nation.

On Saturday the Panthers started off strong in the opening round with a 35-15 victory over 10th ranked Niagara CC, losing only two contested matches. Leading the way for ECC were Mike Stewart (141), Ritchie Guillaume (165), and Matt Hurford (184), who all picked up wins by fall. Da'Wayne Robertson (125) also tallied a 16-0 technical fall.

In the quarterfinals Ellsworth battled to a 22-14 victory over 9th ranked Nassau Community College. The Panthers started with a strong 8-0 lead as Robertson picked up a 12-4 major decision, followed by a 19-6 major decision by Eric Franklin at 133. Nassau gained an 11-8 lead after picking up three straight victories. The Panthers responded as Guillaume tallied an 18-10 major decision over 5th ranked Adam Dejesus, followed by an Edwin Wilson (174) 6-2 decision and Hurford 17-6 major decision. Sophomore Dortanyia McIntyre (285) sealed the victory for ECC with a 5-0 victory.

The quarterfinal win set Ellsworth up with a semifinal match against fourth ranked and eventual National Dual champions Clackamas Community College. The Panthers battled but fell short to the strong Cougar team, which bolstered an impressive eight individuals ranked highly in the nation. At 165 Ritchie Guillaume picked up a remarkable 18-10 major decision over eighth ranked Kyle Bateman.

Dropping into the third place match, ECC squared away against conference rival Iowa Central. Falls by Mike Stewart (141) and Edwin Wilson (174) powered the Panthers to a 22-21 victory over the Tritons. Other important wins came from Robertson (135), Guillaume (165), and Hurford (184).

On the weekend, fourth ranked freshman Ritchie Guillaume fueled the team with a 4-0 record, including two falls. This brings his season record to 10-1 with six falls and two major decisions. Da'Wayne Robertson racked up a 3-1 record, bringing him to a tie for the team lead with 21 victories. Second ranked nationally, Matt Hurford picked up three victories and is now 21-4. Edwin Wilson also had a strong showing with a 3-1 record with two falls; Mike Stewart also had two important falls on the day.

The Panther wrestlers return to action on Wednesday night as they travel to Mason City to take on conference opponent NIACC.