Dragon Wrestlers Open Saturday at Bison Open

MOORHEAD, Minn. – The Minnesota State University Moorhead wrestling team officially opens the 2013-14 season on Saturday at the Bison Open in Fargo, N.D. The event begins at 10 a.m.at the Bison Sports Arena on the campus of North Dakota State University.

MSUM did have several wrestlers compete unattached last weekend but this weekend’s meet marks the first official competition of the season. No team scores will be kept.

MSU-Moorhead DragonsThe Dragons, who graduated just two seniors from last year’s 8-8 team, have competition at several weight classes heading into the season.

“It’s good to know we have the depth, in case of injuries or illness,” said MSUM head coach Kris Nelson, entering his fifth season. “With a good recruiting class this year along with the previous class – the practice room is getting tougher. You have to fight to earn spots.”

At 125 pounds, two true freshmen – Blake Bosch and Shane Novak – are battling for the spot. Bosch won 240 matches and three North Dakota Class B state titles during his career, while Novak won 190 career matches and was a state champion as a junior at New York Mills.

There are two solid wrestlers competing at 133 for MSUM, including junior Philippe Walker, who was 21-12 a year ago, and redshirt freshman Austin Leibel, who was 11-1 last year competing unattached.

The 141-pound class is wide open. Depending on whom claims the 133-pound spot, Walker or Leibel could see time there, with redshirt freshman Isaac Novacek, sophomore Mario Tuccitto and senior Connor MacGregor also in contention for that weight division. Angel Vega, a national qualifier a year ago, will redshirt in 2013-14.

Senior captain Casey Williams is back at 149 after going 16-8 at that spot a year ago.

Junior Shawn Porter and redshirt freshman Dan Murakami are battling at 157 pounds. At 165, sophomore Jesse Puncochar, who competed up a weight class at 174, returns to his normal weight class in 2013-14. Puncochar had a solid 14-10 record a year ago.

Senior Matt Lewellen is at 184 pounds after wrestling up a class at 197 last year. Lewellen was 17-15 last season.

At 197, true freshman Tyler Schlosser is the leading contender. He finished 65-15 during his final two years of his high school career.

Junior veteran Gerad Fugleberg mans the 285-pound class. During his first two years in the Dragon lineup, Fugleberg has posted a 28-28 mark against stout competition.

MSUM’s home opener is set for Dec. 7 when it hosts the annual Dragon Open. The Dragons’ first dual is set for Nov. 14 at Jamestown.

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