Triton wrestlers to leave it on the mat at tournament
Some of the top collegiate wrestlers in the nation will take the mat Saturday, Dec. 14, as Triton College hosts the 24th Annual Art Kraft Memorial Tournament.
The event is named in honor of the late Triton coach who guided the Trojans to three national championships in 1977, 1983 and 1984. Kraft was a three-time National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Coach of the Year during his 18 seasons as Triton's head wrestling coach from 1967-85.
Since its inception, the Art Kraft Memorial Tournament has grown to be one of the most prestigious wrestling tournaments in the country. This year's tournament is no exception, as 20 NJCAA ranked wrestlers will compete for individual titles.
Of the seven junior colleges participating in the 24th Annual Art Kraft Memorial Tournament, three are ranked in the latest NJCAA poll released on Dec. 4, led by fifth rated Lincoln College (Lincoln). Muskegon Community College (Muskegon, Mich.) is ranked ninth while Triton earned the 17th spot in the national rankings.
Harper College (Palatine), Mercyhurst North East College (North East, Pa.), Minnesota West Technical and Community College (Worthington, Minn.) and Waubonsee Community College (Sugar Grove) each received votes in the NJCAA just outside the top 20.
The other colleges and universities participating are: Elmhurst College (Elmhurst), Grand Valley State University (Allendale, Mich.), Illinois State University Club Team (Bloomington) and the University of Chicago (Chicago).
The home-mat advantage historically bodes well for the Trojans who had a pair of champions last year. This year, Triton should be in contention for a strong meet with three nationally ranked wrestlers competing: JAMEEL CARTER (Uplift), ranked 10th at 133; JOHN MARINO (York), ranked fourth at 165; and CHAD KIRKHOVE (Sherrard), ranked fifth at 174.
Other Trojans to watch are THOMAS ANGSTEN (Lane Tech) at 125, who placed second at the Ben McMullen last month, in addition to nearly placing at the Concordia Open on Nov. 23, going 4-2. ROBERT TURNER (Sierra Linda, Ariz.) at 133 earned a spot on the podium at the season opening Yellowjack Open on Nov. 2, taking second, and then followed that effort with a fourth place showing at the Ben McMullen Open on Nov. 9.
The first matches of the tournament will begin at 9 a.m. and will last all day at the Robert M. Collins Center gymnasium, on Triton's main campus, 2000 Fifth Ave., River Grove. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children.
For more information on the 24th Annual Art Kraft Memorial Tournament, contact Triton College head wresting coach and Athletic Director Harry McGinnis at (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3784, or visit www.triton.edu/athletics.