Council Bluffs, Iowa – A total of five Golden State wrestlers were triumphant over the weekend in acquiring All-American status at the 2019 NJCAA National Championships with Elijah Ozuna (Clackamas), and Antonio Andrade (North East Oklahoma) were successful in also claiming individual titles.
Top-ranked Clackamas (Oregon) Community College with two individual winners, two runners-up, two thirds, two fifths and a seventh, rolled up a tournament record 176.5 points. Northeast Oklahoma was second with 152. Northeast Oklahoma had been the previous record-holder with 169 points in 2014.
Sophomore Elijah Ozuna (Frontier HS) now a two-time All-American, battled Zach Donathan (Ellsworth College) in the national final at 141, coming away with a convincing 3-1 win. Ozuna and Donathan battled each other evenly for the first period, with neither man scoring any point in the opening three minutes. Donathan chose down to start the second period and escaped quickly to a 1-0 lead. However, no more points were scored in the period. To begin the third period, Ozuna chose the bottom position, and he too earned an escape quickly to tie the match 1-1. With the match coming near the end, Ozuna grabbed the left leg of Donathan and took him down to earn the takedown and the national championship.
Freshman Antonio Andrade (Gilroy HS) was all business during the weekend as he grabbed three falls in the championship tournament at 285 to advance to the championship bout. In the finals, Andrade met up with Charles Griffin (Ellsworth College), an opponent he had faced early on the season. The match was no contest for Andrade as he recorded two takedowns and riding time to earn the 6-0 decision. Due to his performance, Andrade helped his school finish second in the team standings.
A third California grappler advancing to the championship finals was Joel Romero (Clackamas College). He proceeded to the finals of the championship bout at 157 where he took on national runner-up Ethan Karsten (Iowa Central). Utilizing his offense, Karsten secured a flurry of takedowns and had Romero of on his back for a four-point near-fall on his way to a 17-5 major decision. Romero is only a freshman and should be back next year for the Cougars as the top wrestler favorite to win a national championship of his own.
Selma High graduate Tony Mendoza became an All-American for the first time at 149-pounds for North Iowa Area Community College. After losing in the first round to Enkhbold Sukhbaatar of Northwest Kansas, 7-3, Mendoza won five straight matches to become a place winner. After losing 3-2 TB2 to Austin Eldredge (Cloud County) in the consolation semifinal round, Mendoza was awarded the fifth-place medal after Sukhbaatar forfeited his match.