Carsons’ four wrestlers to attend same college
The University of Michigan had its Fab Five in men’s basketball. Now Northwest College is going to have its version of Carson High’s Fab Four.
Owen Craugh, Kyle Banko, Robbie Bozin and Travis Lamborn will all attend the junior college powerhouse in wrestling in Wyoming. Northwest was the 2004 National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association champion and finished sixth in the nation this past season.
All four wrestlers have been together on the CHS team for the past four years and all of the wrestlers have really been together since middle school. This past season, Craugh (119 pounds), Bozin (125) and Banko (130) all took third at the NIAA 4A State Championships. After three straight third place finishes, Lamborn broke through this year and won the state title at 160.
Craugh was also accepted to the National Senior Championships in Virginia as an at-large entry this past spring and had a solid showing, going 2-2. It was there that Northwest assistant coach Carl Valley saw Craugh.
After Valley recruited him, Craugh decided to attend Northwest. “He was really cool,” Craugh said.
Bozin needed some convincing to attend Northwest. “I think my mind was set on El Camino,” said Bozin, talking about a Southern California community college. “I was just going to go there.”
But the chance to compete for a national title (California community colleges don’t compete in the NJCAA) was too much to pass up. “I took about two weeks to think about it,” Bozin said.
Bozin said he decided he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life saying “I wish, I wish” if he passed up the chance to win a national title. “My mentality is to win a national title,” Bozin said. “That’s my goal.”
All four wrestlers talked about their goal to win individual titles and to help lead Northwest to a national team crown.
Banko said being able to continue to wrestle with his teammates was a major deciding factor. “The way we were going to go is pretty much if all of us were going to go,” Banko said.
Bozin and Banko are going to be roommates at Northwest. They began as rivals in middle school, but became training partners in high school. They’ve trained together for the past four years and that should continue at Northwest.
“I don’t think he liked me,” said Banko about his relationship with Bozin in mddle school. “He used to beat me up.” “He hated me,” said Bozin about Banko.
Banko admitted “I wasn’t going to wrestle in high school,” but as his relationship with Bozin blossomed that obviously changed.
Lamborn was the last holdout as far as attending Northwest. He had other offers, including the NAIA’s William Penn in Iowa and Menlo College in the Bay Area and Lassen and Sierra Community Colleges.
But Bozin figuered Lamborn would attend Northwest all along. “I just felt he was going to go, too,” Bozin said. “Basically he told me he didn’t want to go anywhere by himself either.”
Lamborn said with or without the other three, Northwest is his best option. “They didn’t have what I was looking for,” said Lamborn about the other schools who recruited him. “Northwest just looked like a good program.”
But Lamborn admitted being with the other three was a deciding factor. “It’s definitely nice to go with some friends,” he said.
And the wrestlers are even entertaining the possibility they could all go on together to a four-year school, meaning they would be together for eight years.
“That would be cool,” Lamborn said. “I think I can deal with them for another couple of years.”