By Trevor Swanson, Staff Writer –
Winter is nearly here and that means it’s wrestling season — time to roll out the mats and put a
foot on the line because Jayhawk wrestling is back and ready to go.
The Jayhawks are ranked third in the country according to NJCAA (National Junior College
Athletic Association) rankings. They are looking to win it all this year, and just may have the lineup to
The Jayhawks have two returning All-Americans, Davon Jackson at 165-pound weight class
and LaVonte Perdue at 197 pounds. Both are ranked third.
Head coach James Tietema mentioned other strong wrestlers for this season.
“TJ Barnes, who was one match away from placing last year, is ranked in first 157-pound
weight class,” Tietema said.
He also identified some of the newer wrestlers to the program who show promise.
“We also have a few transfers that will make us tough, number six ranked Zane Corey at 141
pounds, Adam Kehr at 149 pounds, and Devan Ricther at 174 pounds.”
The team has their eyes set ahead this year, looking forward to the national duals in January.
“It’s the top 16 NJCAA teams in a dual meet tournament to find out who is the best dual meet
team in the country,” Tietema said. “We have finished sixth in 2014 and seventh in 2015. Our goal is to
be in the top four this year.”
Last year the Jayhawks had an incredible run, with a seventh place finish at the NJCAA
National Duals, first place finish at the Central District and a sixth place the NJCAA National
Tournament with five All-Americans.
“It will be very tough to beat that performance,” Tietema said, “but I think we have the team to
it. Last year was a great team and we only have three returners. The challenge is the same every year.
We have to get freshman to improve from [being] a great high school wrestler to a great college
Tietema identified three areas on how to become better than last year: “Focus, dedication, and
improvement every week will be our keys.”
He explained that high school rules are a little different from college.
“In Michigan you only have a team state championship” he said. “There is an individual state
tournament, but no team score is kept. In college there are both, dual meet national champions and
individual national championships where a team score is kept. The individual championships – team
championship is the more prestigious title to win.”
That’s exactly what the Jayhawks intend to do. With a strong lineup, the coach has confidence
in his team.
“Our strengths are we don’t have a weak weight class. Every kid can compete at the national
This season began Nov. 6 with a dual meet at home, in which the Jayhawks won both matches
by 18 points or more. Following that performance, the Jayhawks went on to host the Ben McMullen
Open the next day. Ten Jayhawk wrestlers placed, with 5 of those wrestlers taking first in their weight
class. On Nov. 14 the Jayhawks took a smaller team to the Trine tournament in Angola, Indiana, where
the team had two champions, TJ Barnes (157), and freshman heavyweight Ramon Correa (285).
Picture: Tj Barnes (157) pins his opponent in the finals of the recent Trine Invitational tournament. He finished first in his weight class and no offensive points were scored against him. MCC was the only community college in the tournament.