RCTC wrestlers take aim at another national title
The Yellowjackets are ranked No. 5 overall in the nation heading into NJCAA National Tournament.
The Rochester Community and Technical College wrestling team is looking for a repeat.
The Yellowjackets won the non-scholarship national team championship a year ago and this week in Iowa they will look to win a second straight crown.
“That’s the plan, it’s always to win a national championship,” RCTC first-year coach Travis Rutt said. “I know that’s what the guys have their sights set on."
Rutt was an assistant with the Yellowjackets a year ago and he helped recruit a strong class that features a lot of returners this season.
“All the sophomores are part of my first recruiting class and I have a pretty strong bond with those guys,” Rutt said.
Rutt expects about 45 teams to be represented at the NJCAA National Tournament on Wednesday and Thursday in Council Bluffs, Iowa. All the junior college teams compete against each other in one division, including the scholarship schools, to determine the overall order of finish. RCTC was third overall and year ago and the top non-scholarship school.
"We do that every year," Rutt said.
RCTC should be primed for a stellar finish. The Yellowjackets are ranked No. 5 overall in the nation and have a national qualifier in all 10 weight classes. Kenyon-Wanamingo's Seth Brossard (165 pounds) and Parker Dobrocky (133) both placed in the top eight of their weight classes to earn All-America honors a year ago. Brossard finished fourth and Dobrocky was sixth.
“He’s probably the best guy on the team,” Rutt said of Brossard.
Brandon Kidd Jr. (149) just missed a top-eight finish a year ago while Faribault’s DJ Saunders (141) is also a returning national qualifier.
Other national qualifiers for RCTC include Chatfield’s Cael Bartels (125 pounds), Medford's Willie VonRuden (157), Wyatt Simon (174), Gavin Christofferson (184), Tristen Wilson (197) and Noah Broderson (285).
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we potentially get eight All-Americans,” Rutt said. “I think there’s eight guys that I feel pretty confident could get in.”
If the Yellowjackets were to have that many wrestlers do well, they would also excel in the team results. RCTC has four wrestlers ranked in the top eight of their weight class in Christofferson (No. 1), Brossard (No. 2), Dobrocky (No. 3) and Kidd Jr. (No. 8).
“I’m just very, very excited for the opportunity,” Rutt added.