Perkins and Johnson secure All-American honors, will wrestle in the semifinals Saturday; Garcia ends season

Perkins and Johnson secure All-American honors, will wrestle in the semifinals Saturday; Garcia ends season


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (March 9, 2018) - Both Colorado State University-Pueblo wrestlers JaVaughn Perkins (R-So., Omaha, Neb.) and Cody Johnson (Sr., Broken Arrow, Okla.) have secured All-American honors by going 2-0 on day one of the 2018 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships, Friday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

As a team, the No. 15 ThunderWolves totaled 19.5 points and sit in 10th place of 52 teams represented at the championships. The program has now had two or more All-Americans in five of the last six seasons. The Pack have two wrestlers in the semifinals for the first time in the 10 years since the restart of the program and first time since 2001. 

Ranked No. 1 at 184 entering the weekend, Perkins started his day with a 9-1 major decision against Dalton Hahn of host Upper Iowa University. He then moved on to No. 4 Bradley Metz of Findlay University in the quarterfinals. Tied 2-2 with a ride time point coming his way, Perkins used a late third-period takedown to secure a 5-2 decision victory to advance to his first appearance NCAA Division II Semifinal and claim his second straight All-American award. 

Perkins is scheduled to wrestle No. 9 Jeff Reimel of Kutztown when session III begins at 9 a.m. MST Saturday. 

Johnson ranked No. 12 entering the championships and had a more dramatic path to the semifinal at heavyweight. He won both his bouts by a 6-4 score with takedowns in the first sudden victory overtime. 

In the first round, Johnson defeated No. 7 Damon Sims Jr. of University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown with the big takedown in the overtime session. Next was No. 2 and Super Region II Champion Dylan Faulkenberg of University of Indy. Johnson had a 3-2 lead in the third period before suffering a takedown with just 20 seconds left to trail 4-3. He found a way to escape before time expired to tie the match 4-4 and force the sudden victory session. Just 19 seconds in, Johnson earned a takedown to move on to his first Division II Semifinal and All-American honor at the DII level. 

Next for the heavyweight will be a bout against unranked Terrance Fanning of Wheeling Jesuit University. Fanning reached the semifinal by beating the No. 4 and No. 6 wrestlers in the nation. Fanning and Johnson met Jan. 4 at the National Duals where Fanning got the best of Johnson by a 12-6 decision. Since that loss, the senior is 13-4. 

Junior PT Garcia (Denver, Colo.) ranked No. 11 at 133 entering the weekend and went 1-2 for the second straight time at the NCAA Championships. He lost his first bout by a first period pin to No. 9 George Farmah of Minnesota State University, Mankato. He responded with a first period pin of his own in just 1:06 against Lawrance Dudgeon of Ashland University. Garcia's season ended by a tough 2-1 decision loss to No. 8 Nolan Whitely of Newberry. Garcia led 1-0 with just under a minute remaining in the third period when a Whitely shot connected and took down the junior. He was unable to get up to earn the escape point to save his season and Garcia ended the year with a 15-7 record. 

The championships are taking place at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and is hosted by Upper Iowa and Go Cedar Rapids. The first session Saturday begins at 9 a.m. MST and includes all the matches except the championship bouts. The finals will be decided at 5 p.m. MST. 

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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics