It wasn’t much of a surprise to area wrestling fans when 2011 Sac-Joaquin Section Masters champion and two-time state medalist Trent Noon announced he would accept a scholarship at Clackamas Community College in Oregon, considered the best JUCO wrestling program in the nation.
One of his future teammates and his eventual roommate however, was an entirely different story. Two-time high school state champ Rudi Burtschi was recruited to join Clackamas three years after his prep graduation and well removed from the sport.
“I was a couple years away from wrestling and at this point I was working for my dad and my grandparents,” Burtschi said. “Since Trent got the scholarship, (Clackamas coach Josh Rhoden) found out about me and reached Trent’s father to ask me if I wanted to wrestle and fill a hole they had at 197 pounds.
“I took 12 credits over the summer and passed, got eligible and ended up wrestling and getting a scholarship.”
Together, Noon and Burtschi led Clackamas to a Region 18 championship in Yakima, Washington. Both reached their regional final where Burtschi ended first and Noon second. Both qualified to Friday and Saturday’s National Junior College Athletic Association Championships at the UCR Regional Sports Center in Rochester, Minnesota.
Burtschi, who was fourth at the 2009 Nationals, is currently ranked fourth in the nation at 197 pounds. Noon is ranked third at his weight while Clackamas is ranked fourth among all JUCO teams in the nation.
“There are some pretty good wrestlers here,” Noon said. “Everybody is really tough and we have a lot of state placers and champions just red-shirting with us.”