BY BREANN LENZMEIER
Being on the road for more than half the season, the MSUM Dragon wrestling team returned home to host Southwest Minnesota State and St. Cloud State in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference wrestling last week.
The Dragons brought a 5-5 overall dual record and 2-1 in NSIC wrestling to the matchup against Southwest State.
Freshman Blake Bosch started the Dragons off on the right foot, winning by decision to give the Dragons an early lead.
“Blake came on strong in the third period, and I’m happy with how he performed in the third period and how he wrestled,” head coach Kris Nelson said.
The next win for the Dragons came at the 149-pound weight class, with Garret Hoffner winning by decision. Hoffner, a freshman from Mahnomen, Minn. won a tight match against Beau Buysse and improved his season record to 12-7.
Redshirt freshman Dan Murakami made it two in a row for the Dragons in the dual when he won in the final seconds over Codie Lane. Murakami picked up the decision after scoring a late takedown in the third period.
“Dan has been in a lot of close matches this season, and it was nice to see this one go his way,” Nelson said.
Junior Conner Monk picked up the final win of the night for the Dragons when he pinned Jacob Begin in the first period.
“I’m really happy with the way Conner has been wrestling … he wasn’t in the lineup in the first semester and he is now, and he has really showed us that he deserves to be in the lineup,” Nelson said.
Monk picked up his third win a row, and Nelson said he has kept the team in a lot of duals because of his ability to pick up bonus points in his matches.
“We’re really looking forward to big things out of Connor at the end of the season,” Nelson said.
Winning four out of the 10 matches, the Dragons fell to the Mustangs 19-15 in a dual that was decided by the last match of the night. Cole Wilson defeated Gerad Fugleberg by decision to seal the win for Southwest.
“I was happy with our performance, and I thought our conditioning was good against Southwest,” Nelson said. “Overall, happy with how we performed. We need to learn from our mistakes and get tougher in the bottom position, and work to get the escape.”
With the team dropping a tight dual against Southwest, the Dragons had a short turnaround and hosted No. 3 St. Cloud State in NSIC action on Saturday. The Dragons, now 5-6 overall and 2-2 in NSIC, faced a strong St. Cloud State team that brought a 12-1 overall dual record and 1-0 in NSIC action.
Bosch continued his strong season, picking up a major decision in the first match of the dual against the Huskies.
“Really happy with how Blake wrestled … he continues to go out there and put points on the board, and he wrestled the whole match,” Nelson said.
Picking up the second win for the Dragons was redshirt freshman Isaac Novacek, with a 8-4 decision over St. Cloud State’s Mike Rhone at the 141- pound weight class.
St. Cloud State showed why they are ranked third in Division II, winning the next seven matches in the dual and securing the 32-7 victory over the Dragons. The Dragons were in each of the final matches, and many of the victories by St. Cloud were by a slim margin.
“The team wrestled hard, and I thought overall they did a great job … St. Cloud is a very good team,” Nelson said.
With the loss the Dragons fell to 5-7 overall in duals and 2-3 in NSIC action. The team is back at Nemzek Fieldhouse when they host cross-town rival Concordia-Moorhead in non-conference action.
“That is a big dual against Concordia on Feb. 4 … We’ll get back in the practice room and look to have a good week of practice before taking on Concordia,” Nelson said.
The team will look to pick up its first home victory when they host the Concordia-Moorhead at 7 p.m. on Feb. 4 at Nemzek Fieldhouse.