The 2015 NCWA Invitational was the largest meet the Rams have hosted since 1952 with a field of eight teams including Colorado State, Colorado, Utah State, Air Force Preparatory Academy, Dixie State, Wayne State, Arizona and Brigham Young.
Colorado State’s club wrestling team gathered mixed results overall, but less than ten seconds was all it took for CSU freshman KaMele Sanchez to make history.
In just her first meet in a CSU singlet, Sanchez won all three of her matches on the day, including a striking eight-second pin. This was the quickest pin in recent history for the Rams.
“I feel pretty great,” Sanchez said after. “That’s just my move and she wasn’t expecting it.”
Sanchez also took first place overall in the women’s bracket.
“She works hard in the practice room and it showed,” CSU assistant coach Barry Bernstein said.
Among other bright spots for the Rams, Cody Carpenter finished second overall in the 149-pound weight class.
“Cody Carpenter has been performing very, very well. He lost a tough match in the final today. But he’s performing the best on our team so far,” CSU head coach Kendall DeJonge said.
Carpenter’s loss in the finals was just his second of the season. The veteran effort put forth by Carpenter carried the CSU wrestlers.
Veteran performances such as Carpenter’s were hard to come by for the Rams today. The club consists mostly of freshmen. Though talented, it’s evident that collegiate experience is needed for CSU to thrive.
“All of our freshmen are great kids, they work hard and it definitely shows, but they have a ways to go,” DeJonge said.
One freshman whose hard work seemed to pay off in the meet was Ben Peterson, who notched a win against rival Colorado.
Peterson believed this meet to be his best of the season so far. However, he was mainly focused on the Rams’ performance as a team.
“I think we could have done better. There were a lot of tough losses and missed opportunities,” Peterson said.
He wasn’t the only one who left unsatisfied with the final results from the competitive eight-team tournament.
“To be honest, we are a little disappointed,” DeJonge said. “We have a few things we need to go back and work on.”
The Rams will have over six weeks to prepare for their next meet. The time off will be much needed for the Rams, who are currently nursing multiple injuries. It will also give them some time to mature and gain more confidence.
“The best thing about freshmen wrestlers is to see them become sophomore wrestlers,” Bernstein said.
Regardless of the results, Coach DeJonge believes this was a positive experience for his young team.
“It’s good to have competition at the beginning of the season, so that we can find the things that we need to improve on,” DeJonge said.
The NCWA Invite was the final meet of the fall, but the club will resume competition in the spring. Among the future competitions for CSU is the NCWA Great Plains Conference Championships, which is the NCWA National Tournament Qualifier. The regional qualifier is being hosted by CSU this season and will take place Saturday, Feb. 27.
CSU wrestler finally able to hit the mats
CSU’s Megan Miller was able to wrestle competitively for the first time since 2004. After breaking her nose that year and transferring to a high school that did not offer wrestling, she was completely uninvolved in the sport until about a month ago. She was able to record her first collegiate pin Saturday, as was Sanchez.
Collegian Sports Reporter Eddie Herz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @Eddie_Herz.