Thursday, February 8, 2024

NJCAA West District Preview- (Sunday Feb 11th)


The first of the NJCAA qualifiers begins this weekend and one of them is the West District which will be hosted by Umpqua. It features Region 18.  We will take a quick look at the key players who look to punch their ticket to Council Bluffs, Iowa to compete at the national tournament. 

125 lbs

With NJCAA qualifier Kai Matsunaga (who was 3rd here last season) taking a redshirt, it'd be a severe understatement to say that Ane'e Vigil is filling in the spot nicely.  The Colorado freshman has cementd himself not only the favorite to win the West District title this weekend, but also an NJCAA title.  Most likely facing him in the finals will be another freshman, this one out of Tacoma, Washington.  Elijah Cater of North Idaho.  Our likely 3rd place candidate, Arizona native Mikey Doerr of Southwest Oregon. 

133 lbs

6th in the NJCAA nation last season, Mauro Michel hopes to stand atop the final award stand of the season in Council Bluffs, Iowa here in a few weeks.  First he must try to stand atop the podium here at the West District.  He'll have perhaps his toughest competition to date with Cesar Alvarez, who wrestled for Cesar Chavez High in Phoenix, of Clackamas.   While upsets are always prevalent in tournaments like these, look for Kasey Curtis of Snow & Zach Lopez of North Idaho to duke it out for 3rd. 

141 lbs

Clackamas did quite well at this weight class last year, crowning Justin Rodriguez as runner-up. This year they look to do even better, as Reggie Raiz out of Clovis, California looks to win a West District title.  He'll be challenged by three time Idaho high school state champ Hunter Bidelman of North Idaho. 

149 lbs

Dante Oliverio is yet another excellent example at how great of a job Clackamas does of replacing wrestlers once they leave and/or graduate.  Peyton Hughes damn near earned NJCAA All American honors for the Cougars last season & Oliverio gives them yet another All American hopeful for this year.  He will fist look to win the West District this weekend. 

157 lbs

I think we're looking at a good final here at 157 between Clackamas' Josh Hannan and North Idaho's Porter Craig. 

165 lbs

A West District champion & 7th in the NJCAA nation last season, Rocky Raby of Clackamas looks to earn another title this weekend in route to earning another AA in Council Bluffs.  Looking to join him at the national tournament will be both Caleb Marx of Snow & Isaiah Toomey of Southwest Oregon who was a qualifier himself last season. 

174 lbs

The Cougar's Paul Ortiz was 3rd at last year's West District competing at 157 lbs.  After putting on some obvious size and muscle, he's now competing at 174 & he looks to win a title this tournament.  To challenge him in the finals will be Washington native, Conan Northwind of North Idaho. 

184 lbs

The 184 lbs weight class this weekend looks to be won by Noah Poe Hatten of North Idaho. I am anxious though, to see if Hayes Dalton of Snow can give him a challenge.  Dalton was an NJCAA qualifier last year. 

197 lbs

One match shy of NJCAA qualification last season, Bradley Whitwright of North Idaho looks to win a West District title this weekend, as he'll try and nab that top 8 showing at nationals that eluded him last year.  He'll have competition from both Christian Slack of Snow who was an NJCAA qualifier himself last season, as well as Aasiah Kamplain of Clackamas. 


I believe our HWT final will be a matchup between Snow's Rylee Creasy and North Idaho's T.J. Takafua.  Snow qualified David Herring to the NJCAA's last season & they have done a great job in filling in the gap he left with Creasy  

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