Niagara County Community College’s long list of wrestling All-Americans grew by two over the weekend.
Freshman Greg Quinn and sophomore Freddy Eckles will join the ring of honor bordering NCCC’s wrestling room after becoming the 49th and 50th grapplers to achieve All-America status since the program started in 1973.
Quinn placed fourth in the 125-pound class and Eckles placed seventh at 141 pounds during the NJCAA championships in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
“They are two of the hardest workers that we have in the room and it showed there,” Thunderwolves coach Keith Maute said. “I’m happy that their pictures are going up on the wall and they got to accomplish this.”
Quinn advanced to the quarterfinals as an unseeded wrestler and went 5-2 at the national tournament. The Jacobsburg, Ohio native finished his freshman season with a 29-9 record.
“Greg maximized his potential,” Maute said. “He lost to the same kid twice and beat some really good kids who, on paper, were better than he was. I knew he had a chance. Hopefully he gets a little bigger now and he’ll have a shot at winning the (championship) next year.”
Eckles (Lake Shore) was the top seed in his bracket and won four straight matches after being upset in the opening round. He finished the season at 37-5.
“It was a really tough tournament,” Eckles said. “I came in it to win it but it didn’t go that way. I bounced back and kept battling forward, kept wrestling tough.
“It feels pretty good to be an All-American. We train hard for it, practice hard every day to achieve our goals and be the best.”
Eckles finished his NCCC career with 67 wins, which ranks 13th in school history. He record 24 pinfall victories, 141 team points, 48 four-point near falls and 13 technical falls.
As a freshman, Eckles won a New York State Intercollegiate championship competing against wrestlers from four-year colleges. He also won a Region III championship.
After redshirting last season due to an injury and in order to ensure he would leave NCCC with a degree, Eckles won his second regional championship and finished the season with a 37-5 record. Allowed to compete in the NYS tournament while redshirting, Eckles became the first NCCC wrestler to place in the event three times.
“He had a great season and a great career,” NCCC coach Keith Maute said. “It’s been a long road and one of my hopes is that he was going to leave here being an All-American and I’m thankful that happened.”