Strong showing for wrestling team at Dragon open

Senior Matt Lewellen wrestles at the Dragon open Saturday. He finished 3-1.
Senior Matt Lewellen wrestles at the Dragon open Saturday. He finished 3-1.

The MSUM wrestling team hosted the Dragon open on Saturday and saw many wrestlers place in their respective weight classes. A total of seven wrestlers placed for the team and four wrestlers placed second.
The tournament had teams from the upper Midwest, Division I and Division II. It featured more than 15 teams and more than 250 wrestlers. The tournament was the last open tournament for the Dragons this semester as they now move into conference and dual wrestling.
The tournament had two divisions, red and white, with Dragons placing in both. From national qualifiers to nationally ranked wrestlers, the Dragon open showcased strong wrestling throughout the day.
With the team off to a strong start to their season, they found success on their home mat.
“I thought overall we did a good job having seven wrestlers place in the tournament,” head coach Kris Nelson said.
Nelson pointed to the strong performance from true freshman Blake Bosch as one of many highlights from the day.
“Blake wrestled in the upper division and beat a national qualifier from Northern State, Anthony Bruno, and that was a big win for Blake,” Nelson said.
Bosch finished with a 3-1 record for the day and placed second at 125-pound weight class.
“We are excited about how Blake wrestled. It showed that he is right there with the top competition in Division II,” Nelson said.
True freshman Garret Hoffner placed second and finished with a 3-1 record. Hoffner lost in the championship match to Lucas Zilverbrg from South Dakota State 4-0.
Senior Matt Lewellen had a strong tournament, finishing second with a 3-1 record. Lewellen lost in the championship match to Christian Harrison from Concordia-Moorhead 7-5.
“Matt had a very strong day and beat a St. Cloud wrestler in the semis, and it is always big to beat someone in our conference,” Nelson said. “Matt had a tough match in the finals but wrestled well throughout the day.”
Nelson said that overall, the team is wrestling well, and he is pleased with how they are doing so far this season.
He did point out that the team will have to overcome injuries throughout the season, and that injuries are a part of the sport.
“Wrestlers have to be ready to step up if someone is hurt,” Nelson said.
The wrestlers will look to improve on their 2-0 dual record as they travel to Minneapolis tomorrow to wrestle Augsburg College. Nelson said the dual was competitive last year, and that it came down to bonus points in the match. It will be critical for the Dragons to earn the bonus points this year. Last year each team won five matches, but Augsburg prevailed to win the match.
“We need to get major decisions, tech falls and pins to win the match (against Augsburg). Winning by decision won’t win the match,” Nelson said.
After the dual, the team will be on break until they travel to Phoenix to take part in the Grand Canyon duals in January.
Nelson said that the team continues to work hard and endeavor to improve each day.
“We need to wrestle as hard as we can and put our best lineup as we can and achieve the best level of wrestling we can,” Nelson said.
There are four true freshman in the lineup. They are gaining valuable experience wrestling these tough matches, Nelson added.
Junior Michael Joseph is off to a strong start in his first season with the Dragons. Joseph is currently ranked sixth in the 174-weight class. Nelson said he is opening a lot of eyes at the Division II level.
Nelson said the team is looking to improve off of their 8-8 dual record from last season and remarked the team will look to compete throughout the season.
The Dragons wrestle at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Minneapolis at Augsburg College.

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