PUEBLO, Colo. – Two Minnesota State University Moorhead wrestlers took the mat Friday in the national spotlight at the NCAA Division II Championships. Corey Ulmer and Jacob Bennett opened action of day one in Pueblo, Colo., against the nation’s toughest competitors.
Corey Ulmer (27-3) and Jacob Bennett (20-13) combined for a record of 1-3 for the Dragons on day one. Ulmer, in the 125 class, faced Austin Gillihan (18-16) of Lake Erie College and Kyle McCrite (37-6) of Grand Canyon University. Bennett, in the 157 class, took on Jon Gappmaier (27-9) of Colorado Mesa University and Taylor Knapp (20-9) of Newberry College in the opening rounds.
Ulmer and Gillihan opened the first round but action would not make it through the second period. The Ashley, N.D. native took just 49 seconds into that second period to take Gillihan to the mat and force a pin to earn the victory. The semi-final match between Ulmer and McCrite would take its full course as the final decision came down to the wire. McCrite edged out Ulmer by just one point to send the Dragon to the consolation bracket, 9-8.
The junior from Apache Junction, Ariz., was an underdog in the opening match while facing Gappmaier. Bennett’s opponent proved his record by winning the match in a 9-3 decision. The second round match in the consolation bracket did not fare well for Bennett either. Finishing the second round like that of his Dragon teammate, Bennett took the contest down to the last seconds. A 9-8 decision in favor of Knapp ended Bennett’s day and weekend at the nationals.
The lone Dragon remaining at the championship tournament will continue action tomorrow. Ulmer is set to face off against Ouachita Baptist University’s Garrett Evans (23-8). The winner will continue in pursuit of the third place title of Division II.