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updated: 2/27/2014 9:12 PM

Harper wrestlers making national trip

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By Jonathan Cregier

Every junior college wrestler's goal was to make it to Spokane, Wash., on the first weekend in March.

And despite dropping out of this week's NJCAA wrestling poll, ten Harper College wrestlers made that voyage and are competing in the national championships, which conclude Saturday at the Spokane Convention Center.

Four Hawks are nationally ranked in their weight classes. At 184 pounds, No. 7 sophomore Mike Romanelli has the highest ranking for the Hawks.

The Crystal Lake South product started the season wrestling at 197 pounds. He punched his ticket to Washington last weekend by finishing third at the Central District Championships at Triton.

The Hawks may have a dark horse at 126 pounds in ninth-ranked Jake Bellis, who has not lost since the Wisconsin Open on Dec. 7. Bellis (26-5) has a win over another ranked wrestler in his weight class, No. 11 Devane Dogens of Muskegon (Mich.) 7-5 in the championship bout of the District meet.

Another Harper-Muskegon matchup of ranked grapplers could come at 141 pounds, where ninth-ranked Blake Tisza of Harper could meet against Cody Steinberg, who is ranked sixth. The two met at Triton, and Tisza came away with a 7-6 decision. He has not lost since Jan. 18.

One Harper's leaders is Blake Santi. Ranked 10th, the sophomore from Lake Park could sneak onto the podium at 149 pounds.

Also in action for the Hawks will be Kyle Bridgeman (194 pounds), Lanvontay Cobb (285), Greg Jacquez (157), Kerin Ramirez (133) and Tyler Thomas (174).

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