MOORHEAD, Minn. – A national runner-up finish and All-American honors from senior Blake Bosch highlighted the 2016-17 season for the Minnesota State University Moorhead wrestling team. The Dragons finished with a 6-9 dual record.
Bosch piled up the awards during his senior season. He was a national runner-up at 133 pounds, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Wrestler of the Year and the Super Region 3 Wrestler of the Year.
He finished the season with a 32-2 record to lead the Dragons. His career record in 115-35, which is the second-most wins in Dragon wrestling history.
Other MSUM wrestlers who finished the season with winning records include senior Nader Abdullatif (20-11), sophomore Adam Blees (17-11), senior Isaac Novacek (18-14), and sophomore Kristian Vazquez (15-11). Vazquez finished fifth at the Super Region 3 tournament at 141 pounds. Sophomore Austin May finished 8-4 at 184 pounds before suffering a season-ending injury in November.
The Dragons also competed at three open tournaments, with numerous first-place finishes. The season started at the Bison Open, where Bosch won the title at 133 pounds, while Blees finished third at 174 pounds. Senior Nader Abdullatif brought home a fourth-place finish at 285, while a host of Dragons finished in fifth place.
They followed that up with a trip across town to Concordia, where they dropped a 21-15 dual match. They were back at Concordia later that week for the Cobber Open, where freshman Aaron Sistrunk finished second at 133 pounds, while sophomore Dylan Connell finished fourth at 149. There were a few Dragons who were competing at the UNK Holiday Inn Open, including Bosch, who finished third in the elite division, while sophomore Jared Goldsmith finished fourth at 125 pounds in the amateur division.
The final event before the Thanksgiving break for the Dragons was a 54-0 win over Northland Community and Technical College. After the break, the Dragons hosted the Dragon Open, where Bosch, Goldsmith, and Abdullatif all won titles, while Connell finished second.
The first ranked team that the Dragons faced was D3 power Augsburg. That match ended in a 25-12 loss for the Dragons, despite wins from Bosch, sophomore Kristian Vazquez, and Abdullatif.
The Dragons annual winter break trip took them to Las Vegas for the Desert Duals, where they went 2-2, with Bosch picking up his 100th career win. They returned from the tournament and immediately went into NSIC competition, where they went 3-5, with wins over Northern State, Southwest Minnesota State, and Minot State.
That led up to the Super Region 3 tournament, which the Dragons hosted on Feb. 24-25. Bosch led the way with a championship at 133 pounds, while Vazquez came just one match short of qualifying for the national tournament with a fifth-place finish.
At the nationals, Bosch cruised to the championship match, including a semifinal pin against Wheeling Jesuit’s Dustin Warner, before dropping the championship match 7-5 to Michael Labry of Ashland.
The Dragons will lose seniors Bosch, Abdullatif, Novacek, and Dan Murakami to graduation but return several starters, plus will have several individuals who redshirted this year looking to contribute.