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WRESTLING: Smith-Traylor fights for All-American finish at national championships
WARRIOR - Rend Lake College's Oshea Smith-Traylor battled back to finish an All-American fifth place at the 2012 NJCAA Wrestling Championships in Rochester, Minn. CLICK HERE for a larger image.
ROCHESTER, Minn. - With the 165-pound championship out of reach, Rend Lake College wrestler Oshea Smith-Traylor fought his way back through five opponents for an All-American finish this past weekend at the National Junior College Athletic Association Championships in Minnesota.
Smith-Traylor, a freshman from Belleville, Ill., got a first-round bye before being pinned in the second round by Bernie Dupuy of Northwest College (Wyo.). Smith-Traylor then battled his way back through the bracket, winning decisions after decision.
First, he won a major decision over North Idaho's WV Meyer. Then it was a decision over Middlesex County's (N.J.) Paul Saraiva, and another over Micah Morrill from Highline Community College, until Smith-Traylor found himself facing Dupuy once again. This time, he would not be pinned. Instead, he won a 5-4 decision that eliminated Dupuy from the tournament.
After losing his next match in a 10-8 decision to Bryce Lewis of Colby Community College, Smith-Traylor took fifth place by beating Western Wyoming's Dylan Bushby in an 18-8 major decision.
"I was glad to see him overcome that first loss," said RLC Head Coach Kevin Tate. "He had a good tournament. He overcame some demons and wrestled to his full potential."
Two more Warriors competed at the national tournament - freshmen Derek Dowdy and Josh Boots, both of Evansville, Ind.
Dowdy looked great in his first 141-pound match, winning by 15 points over Logan Kellogg of Mercyhurst College (Penn.). But he was pinned and injured in his second match against Labette's Jordan Basks and withdrew from the tournament.
Boots went 0-2 in the 184-pound division, losing a 14-6 major decision to Christia Mays of Iowa Central and 2-1 against Shelby Deno (Rochester Community and Technical College) when a tactical error by Boots in the final 15 seconds cost him the match.
Tate expressed pride for all three of his Warriors who qualified for and competed at the national championships. He said Dowdy and Smith-Traylor live by the maxim 'I'd rather be wrestling.' Boots, he said, is a 4.0 student who will not be back next year. Instead, he is moving on to either Purdue or Southern Indiana to work on his engineering degree.
"I'm going to miss him after this year," said Tate. "I love coaching kids like them. I hope next year we can avoid the injuries and build on last year when we took third. The injuries just killed us team-wise this year. It came down to three kids at the end of the year who were healthy, worked hard and reached their goal of getting to nationals."
For all things athletic at The Lake, visit RLC online at www.rlc.edu/warriors.