Local Sports Notebook: RCTC first at Division III nationals
The Rochester Community and Technical College wrestling team accomplished something Saturday that was unprecedented.
The Yellowjackets — competing in the NJCAA National Tournament in Spokane, Wash. — won the Division III championship (non-scholarship schools). It did that while also finishing 11th overall among all junior college schools (scholarship schools included).
Plainview-Elgin-Millville graduate Garret Millerand South St. Paul graduate Joe Munosled the way, finishing third and fourth at their weights. The 174-pound Miller was 4-1 in the tournament, all four of his wins by pin. His only loss was in overtime.
Miller also finished third at nationals last year.
"Garret's (loss) was one of those things," RCTC coach Randy Ragersaid. "Garret was pushing the pace the whole time. In overtime he took a shot but got tossed out of bounds."
The 141-pound Munos was 4-2 at nationals. All top-eight finishers make All-America status.
One of RCTC's biggest hopefuls, 125-pounder Dakota Trom, failed to place. The three-time state champion from Apple Valley fell to Northeastern Oklahoma's Josh Walker in the quarterfinals, then Trom also fell 6-5 in his next and final match.
RCTC coach Randy Rager was pleased with Miller's and Munos' high finishes. But he was looking for more from his team overall.
"I thought we could have finished in the top five among all schools (scholarship ones included)," Rager said. "If some of our guys had finished like I thought they could, we would have done that. But they didn't wrestle their best.
"They'll learn from the experience. In wrestling, you have to adapt to survive."
(See Page D3 for the individual RCTC wrestling national tournament results.)
Student-athletes Sam Daly, of Rochester, and Courtney Pahl, of Pine Island, have earned prestigious academic honors in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Daly plays men's basketball at St. Olaf College and Pahl plays women's basketball at the University of St. Thomas. They were honored for their combined athletic and academic achievement with the MIAC Elite 22 Award. The award is new in the MIAC this season and honors one player in the league in both men's and women's basketball.
The MIAC Elite 22 Award recognizes the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the conference championship level of their sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among their peers.
The winner must be a sophomore, junior or senior and in at least his or her second season of competition with their current team. Both Daly and Pahl helped their teams win MIAC playoff championships over the weekend.
Daly, a Lourdes grad, received the Elite 22 Award thanks to his team's first-ever MIAC playoff championship, and his 3.65 GPA. The Ole senior forward is a double-majoring in chemistry and psychology. The Oles were the tournament's No. 2 seed, and defeated No. 5 Gustavus 66-53 in the semifinals and No. 1 St. Thomas 63-53 in the championship game. Daly had six points and three rebounds in 15 minutes in the win over the Gusties, and played five minutes in the title game.
Pahl received the Elite 22 Award thanks to her team's third straight MIAC playoff championship and her perfect 4.0 GPA. The Tommie sophomore guard is double-majoring in biochemistry and biology. St. Thomas won three games in five days to capture the title, defeating No. 6 Gustavus 66-51 at home, No. 2 Concordia 71-56 on the road and No. 1 Saint Mary's 71-58 on the road.
The Rochester Honkers have signed Chad Hodges, a right-handed pitcher from South Dakota State for the upcoming summer season.
Hodges is a 6-foot-4, 230-pound junior from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. He is currently 2-1 with a 3.44 ERA in three starts.
Last summer Hodges pitched for the Humboldt (Calif.) Crabs of the Far West Summer Collegiate League. He posted a 7-0 record with a 2.46 ERA and was named the Horizon Air Summer Series Pitcher of the Year.
The Honkers' 21st season begins on May 27 at home against the Waterloo Bucks.
Nic Enerson, of Byron, was a junior forward for the Dordt College men's hockey team in Iowa. Enerson led the team with 12 goals. He added five assists and scored a team-high 17 points.
Dordt finished the season 6-18.
Enerson has been a regular for Dordt all three seasons. He now has 23 career goals, 13 assists and 36 points.