MOORHEAD, Minn. – The Minnesota State University Moorhead wrestling team opens the 2016-17 season at the Bison Open on Saturday. With a veteran nucleus returning, the Dragons are aiming to improve on last season’s 8-7 record.
The Bison Open will be held at Scheels Arena in south Fargo, N.D.
The Dragons will return four seniors from last season, led by Blake Bosch, who is a two-time All-American at 133 pounds. Also leading the Dragons will be fellow seniors Nader Abdullatif, Dan Murakami, and Isaac Novacek.
At 125, the Dragons will be led by sophomore Jared Goldsmith, who was 16-15 last season. Bosch will be at 133 pounds, looking for his third straight All-American season. Bosch is 83-33 in his Dragon career and went 34-7 last season and placed fourth at the D2 Championships.
Sophomore Kristian Vazquez will be at 141 pounds after finishing last season with a 10-15 record.
At 149 pounds, Novacek returns with three years experience as a starter. He was 18-18 last season with four falls. Sophomore Dylan Connell will also be battling for time at 149.
At 157, the Dragons will be led by sophomore Brayden Kuntz, who went 14-16 last season with three falls. It is possible Novacek could see time at 157 as well.
Murakami, who missed last season with an injury, is battling sophomore Jonathan Hoffner for the spot at 165 pounds. Sophomore Adam Blees will be the starter at 174 pounds after a 15-10 record last season. Austin May, a sophomore from Zimmerman, Minn., will be the starter at 184 pounds. He compiled a 14-13 record last season with four wins by fall.
Fellow sophomore Cody Anderson, who compiled a 10-15 record last season, will get the start at 197 pounds. Rounding out the lineup will be Abdullatif, who compiled a 9-10 record last season.
Among those who will be redshirting this season are Seth Hutchison, Preston Lehmann, Manuel Garcia, Jaxon Seufzer, Nick Erbes, Jordan Magnuson, Aaron Sistrunk, Trent Milless, Nick Kaml, Anthony Kern, and Sam Erckenbrack.
In the regional rankings released recently, five Dragons were ranked, with Bosch being ranked No. 1 at 133 pounds. Vazquez and Novacek were both ranked sixth, while May was ranked seventh and Blees was ranked eighth.
After the Bison Open, the Dragons will travel across town for a dual with the Concordia Cobbers on Wednesday, Nov. 16. They will return to Concordia a few days later for the Finn Grinaker Open. They will have three duals during the first part of the season, with the highlight being D3 power Augsburg, which visits MSUM on Dec. 8.
The annual winter trip will be to Las Vegas this season for the Vegas Duals. After that, the Dragons will enter conference matches, with just three being home matches. They will have a four-match road trip before returning to MSUM to host the Super Region 3 tournament on Feb. 24-25. The national tournament is scheduled for March 10-11 in Birmingham, Ala.