Ridgewater Wrestling Warriors Cole Holien and Wil Yasseri earned All-American honors last weekend when they each placed seventh at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III national championships in Iowa.
Yaseri, a sophomore from Rogers competing at 165 pounds, finished the tournament 5-2 with opponents from Iowa, Illinois, Idaho, and New York. Holien, a freshman from Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, competed in the 141-pound weight class and tallied a 4-2 record event record. His competitors came from Kansas, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wyoming, Michigan. Freshman Austin Schlangen, a 285-pounder from Eden Valley-Watkins, competed both days of the tourney, putting up a 3-2 win-loss performance.
With fellow Warriors Brady Holien, Taedon Nichols and Rick Jones, Ridgewater finished 17th place with 39.5 points among a field of 51 teams scoring points there.
Warrior Co-Coaches Logan Peterson and Travis Deegan were pleased with their Warriors. “I am extremely proud of how our team performed at the national tournament this year,” Peterson said Monday. “They all worked hard to get to that point, and they put on a good show. Every one of them won matches and came ready to fight and give it their all. Wil and Cole had some of their best matches all year, so it was nice to see them rise to the challenge and achieve what I knew they were capable of.”
For Yaseri, the tournament was his last competitive outing. “It’s really fun competing at that level,” he said. “You know that every match is going to be a fight and no points come easy…. It was a great way to finish off my wrestling career.”
“Competing at a college level is a lot of fun and you learn a lot,” said Warrior Cole Holien. “I was happy with my performance at the tournament and can’t wait until next year!”
Coach Peterson commended the two All-Americans. “Cole is a rare athlete who is willing to work hard with no complaints and he has no fear of losing, only a desire to win,” he said. “When you put those two things together, they become a dangerous combination for any of his opponents. I was not surprised at all that he became an All-American with his mindset.
“Wil has had a unique season,” Peterson shared. “He has been battling multiple injuries throughout the year and bumped up a weight class, thus facing much stronger opponents. Wil would just put his head down and push through all the adversity. That mindset is what allowed him to get key upsets throughout the weekend that led him to receive All-American honors. Both guys were a coach’s dream, and I am extremely honored to be a part of their journey in achieving their goals.”