SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Dragons entered the wrestleback finals needing three wins to send three wrestlers to the NCAA Division-II National Championships in Kearney, Neb. March 11-12.
The remaining Dragons with a shot at heading to nationals included Corey Ulmer (125), Brady Schneeberger (141) and Tyler Kivel (165). Tyler Steinwand (149) and Tallen Wald (157) still had plenty to wrestle for, heading to the fifth place match.
Ulmer was the first to try and earn a spot at 125 pounds against Minnesota State Mankato’s Andy Forstner. Forstner gained an early advantage, getting a takedown while Ulmer countered with an escape to give Ulmer a 1-2 deficit to come back from. After Ulmer tied the match with an escape, Forstner again took down Ulmer to lead 4-2.
After Ulmer escaped a third time, Forstner was able to fend off Ulmer to end the second ahead 4-3. Ulmer could not overcome the early points put up by Forstner and fell by a final of 5-2. Brady Schneeberger looked to reverse the Dragons’ fortune as he met up with Gabriel Suarez of St. Cloud State.
Suarez gained the early advantage with a takedown but was reversed by Schneeberger to tie the match at 2-2. Suarez escaped with timing running out in the first to take a 3-2 lead. Suarez increased his lead by escaping again in the second to lead 4-2 after two periods. Schneeberger escaped midway through the third period to draw to with in one point. Suarez would go on the defensive and hold on to win 4-3.
Tyler Steinwand met up in the fifth place match against Demond Carter of Southwest Minnesota State. Carter gained a late takedown and held a 2-0 lead after the first. With Steinwand choosing the down position, the junior managed an escape to draw with in one. Carter pulled away in the end to earn the fifth place spot at 149 pounds as Steinwand finished sixth.
At the same time, senior Tallen Wald was working on a similar position on the next mat, this time against Tel Todd of Minnesota State Mankato. Todd opened up the first with a takedown but Wald responded quickly with an escape to end the first, down 1-2. Todd started the period in control of Wald and pinned the senior at the 4:23 mark to win the fifth place match.
Tyler Kivel was the last Dragon to step on the mat, needing a win to avoid a true fourth match against Brendan Eichmann of Minnesota State Mankato. Kivel found a familiar face in the finals as he took on Matt Gille once again after defeating Gille 6-2 in his first match on the day.
Kivel and Gille were both scoreless after the first period with Gille choosing the down position to begin the second. Gille reversed Kivel and gained a two-point nearfall while Kivel responded with an escape to end the second, and also to begin the third, needing three points to tie Gille. Gille put the match away with a takedown late in the third to win 7-4, forcing Kivel to earn his way to Kearney, Neb. on his own against Eichmann.
Kivel got on the offense early, taking down Eichman nto begin the match. With just under a minute remaining in the first period, Eichmann escaped to bring himself with in one. Kivel escaped 19 seconds into the second to extend his lead to 3-1. Eichmann made things interesting, escaping from Kivel 20 seconds into the third period and taking the lead over Kivel with a quick takedown.
With only 16 seconds left, Eichmann lost control of Kivel and the match headed to suddent victory overtime. After a scoreless overtime, the match headed to a pair of 30-second overtime periods. Kivel got the first crack at points and scored a reversal, followed by an escaped from Eichmann. With time running out, Eichmann was awarded one penalty point to give him a 7-6 win.
The Dragons will send Corey Ulmer (125) and Brady Schneeberger (141) to the NCAA Division-II National Championships in Kearney, Neb. on March 11-12 beginning at 11 a.m. on March 11.
The Dragons record at the regional were as follows:
125 – Corey Ulmer 2-2 (Fourth Place)
133 – Evan Forde 2-2
141 – Brady Schneeberger 2-2 (Fourth Place)
149 – Tyler Steinwand 2-3 (Sixth Place)
157 – Tallen Wald 1-3 (Sixth Place)
165 – Tyler Kivel 2-3 (Fifth Place)
174 – Trent Sovde 0-2
184 – Kody Kalkbrenner 0-2
197 – Brian Woelfel 1-2
285 – No participant
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