Mustangs wrestlers repeat as national champions


Western Wyoming Nationals Team (Wyo4News photo)

March 2, 2024 –Wyo4News Staff

At the beginning of the 2023-24 Western Wyoming Community College wrestling season, the goal was to repeat as the NJCAA national champions. Mission accomplished!

Paced by Cody Phelps’s Championship Finals win at 133 pounds, Western tallied 161 points in winning their second straight national crown. Second Place went to Iowa Central (139.5 points), with Pratt Community College from Kansas third (134.5), and Clackamas, from Oregon (134) finishing fourth. By comparison, last year’s Mustang team scored 134 points in winning the event.

Central Iowa and Clackamas each had two individual champions, but Western’s team depth was too much to overcome as they had seven wrestlers with top-six finishes. Fifty-three junior college schools were represented at the tournament, which took place in Council Bluffs, Iowa The event featured men and women divisions.

Three Mustangs wrestlers make it to the Championship Finals this evening.

Western Wyoming 125 pound wrestler Bridger Ricks

Bridger Ricks started the night for Western in the 125 pound finals, but came up just short losing 4-2 to the #1 seed Anne’e Vigil of Clackamas, Oregon. Ricks entered the tournament as the #2 seed. Oregon.

Western Wyoming 133 pound wrestler Cody Phelps

In the second Championship Final of the evening, it was the Mustang’s Cody Phelps scoring a Major Decision over top-seeded Ceasar Avelar of Clackamas, 17-4, to win the 133 pound title. Phelps finished third in the 2023 tournament.

Western Wyoming 184 pound wrestler Darion Johnson

In the 184 pound Championship Final, Western’s Darion Johnson, the #2 seed took on #1 seeded Aziz Fayzullaeu of Northwest. That match went to Fayzullaeu 7-3, giving Johnson his second straight national championship runner-up finish.

Other Mustangs Wrestlers with Top Six Finishes or Better

141 Pounds – River Wardle – 3rd Place
157 Pounds – Chris Lopez – 4th Place
165 Pounds – Jayden Luttrell – 6th Place
285 Pounds – Dmarion Johnson – 3rd Place