SMYRNA, Delaware – Zach Schrader (Cal Baptist University/Army and Navy Academy) competed at the National Collegiate Open, an event for college student-athletes not wrestling in a national qualifier tournament.
Only a sophomore, Schrader was fifth at the at the Super Region IV Championship and barely missed out on qualifying for NCAA DII Championship last year. He competed at the 11th Annual National Collegiate Open where he went 5-0 in the tournament to win the title. Competing at 285-pounds, he beat Keaton Kluever (North Carolina) 3-1 with a late takedown in the third period to finish the 2018-19 season with a 13-12 record competing against Division I wrestlers.
In the quarterfinal round, Schrader defeated Isaac Reid (Lock haven) 3-2. He earned an escape point and a takedown in the second period to go up 3-0 in the match. With seconds left in the period, Reid received an escape point to close the gap to 3-1. Reid earned another Escape point to come within a point of tying the match. However, Schrader wrestled smart and played defense in the last second of the match to win and advance to the semifinal round.
In the semifinal round, Schrader took on Zachary Knighton-Ward (Hofstra), a former NJCAA All-American for Nassau Community College. A takedown in the first and third period clinched the bout for Schrader (6-2) to advance to the championship bout.
At 149, 2018 NCAA Division II National Champion Daxton Gordon (Cal Baptist/Brawley HS) advanced to the championship finals by defeating Denton Spencer (University of Virginia) 5-3 in the semifinal round. In the finals, he took on Minnesota’s Brayton Lee. It wasn’t a good round for Gordon who was taken down four times to be down 8-4 entering the second period. Lee chose down to start the second period and earned the escape midway through the match to go up 9-4. With the match not out of his hands, Gordon earned the escape point in the third period and then took Lee down with 17 seconds left on the match to close the gap 9-7. Gordon worked hard on top with no avail as time expired and Lee was awarded the championship title.
Redshirt freshman Chasen Blair (North Carolina/Rancho Bernardo HS) faced off against Garrett Joles (University of Minnesota) in the 197-pound finals. Blair, like every other California grappler before him, set the tempo early, pushing the action throughout the opening period. However, Joles outstanding defense allowed him to fight off Blair’s offense as he earned two takedowns in the opening round and near fall points to go up 8-1 on Blair. Joles chose neutral to start the second period and notch another takedown and a stalling point to go up 11-2 on the bout. Blair knew that his only chance to get the win was via a fall, and thus, he chose the top position to start the third period. Jolen bottom game was unstoppable and recorded the escape point right of the bat to go up 12-2. A takedown by Blair midway into the third close the gap to 12-4. Nevertheless, with 40 seconds left on the match, Jolen earned the escape point and an additional takedown to finish the match 16-4 with the addition of the riding point.
Other place winners from California included Chase Zollmann (Wyoming/Poway HS) 6th at 141 and Garret Strang (California Baptist/Chaparral High) 4th at 184.