By Tom Berg
MOORHEAD, Minn. — Minnesota State University Moorhead head wrestling coach Kris Nelson has announced the addition of eight recruits for the 2020-21 season.
“We are excited to add these eight individuals to the Dragon wrestling program and look forward to working with them and helping them achieve their goals both in the classroom and on the wrestling mat,” Nelson said. “The class is very talented and feel that they will make an immediate impact to the Dragon wrestling program.”
Here is a look at the newest Dragons:
Andre Baguma (285, Fargo, N.D./Davies HS/Northland CTC)
Three-time North Dakota HS place winner, including winning a state championship in 2018…two-time MCAC/NJCAA North District Champion…NJCAA All-American after placing sixth at nationals in 2020.
Coach Nelson: Andre Baguma was recruited out of high school and wrestled for ex Dragon Wrestling Coach Keenan Spiess. We recruited Andre out of high school and he chose to go the Junior College route where he found success. Andre is a very big and powerful heavyweight we are excited to work with.”
Kolbe Booker (165/174, Moorhead, Minn./Home School)
Career record of 105-32…placed fourth at Minnesota state tournament in 2020…was North Dakota HS champion at 160 pounds in 2019…winner of Big Bear Wrestling Tournament…placed in top six at USA Wrestling Preseason Nationals twice.
Coach Nelson: “Kolbe Booker is a local talent that we have had a good relationship since him moving to Moorhead, from Oklahoma. Kolbe is a very athletic and talented individual that is projected to wrestle at 165/174. Kolbe comes from a wrestling family and knows what it will take to find success at the college level. Kolbe has competed in many national events and that experience should help in his transition to the college level. Kolbe is also very strong in the classroom as he was named to this year’s Minnesota Wrestling All-Academic Team.”
Brett Graham (184, Detroit Lakes, Minn./Frazee HS)
Placed at fourth at Minnesota HS state tournament twice…two-time all-conference in wrestling…placed third at 2019 Northern Plains Region Greco-Roman tournament….Paul Bunyan wrestling tournament champion…also all-district and all-section in football.
Coach Nelson: “Brett Graham is from Detroit Lakes and competed for the always tough Frazee wrestling program. Brett is a big, strong individual with good leverage that we see just getting bigger throughout college and filling into the 184-197-pound weight class. Past All-American Dragon Wrestler Travis Nagel who helped coach Brett was helpful in the recruiting process. Brett is also first cousins with Dragon Wrestlers Cody and Justin Dravis of Park Rapids.”
Hunter Hayes (133, Wasilla, Alaska/Wasilla HS)
Career record of 101-16…two-time region champ…two-time Alaska State Triple Crown winner…state placer in cross country…four-time Region 3 champion in track.
Coach Nelson: “Hunter Hayes is an all-around athlete that will add to the 133/141-pound weight class which is needed for our program to add depth at those weight classes. Hunter is coming off an ACL injury and will more than likely redshirt in his first season for the Dragons. It is always great to get well-rounded athletes and Hunter has found success in cross country, track, football, and wrestling.”
Declan Malone (141, Box Elder, S.D./Rapid City Stevens HS)
Career record of 140-54…four-time state qualifier in South Dakota…finished second at state in 2020, third in 2019 and sixth in 2018…2019 Monster Match nationals fourth-place finisher…2019 and 2020 Yankton Invitational champion.
Coach Nelson: “Declan Malone is projected to wrestle at the 141/149-pound weight class and is an extremely hard worker that is constantly looking to get better and looking for a tournament to compete in. Declan is a competitor that has placed at many tough tournaments in his high school career. During his senior season he won the tough Bismarck Rotary tournament where he beat some tough individuals and that really impressed our staff.”
Thomas Miracle (125, Boise, Idaho/Borah HS)
Four-time Idaho state qualifier, two-time state finalist and was Idaho State Champion at 126 pounds in 2020…career record of 136-47.
Coach Nelson: “Thomas Miracle will add depth to the roster at 125 and 133 pounds. Our roster was starting to get thin through the lightweights and we’re really happy to add Thomas to help with that. We plan to have Thomas wrestle at 125 in his first season and then possibly moving up to 133 in his later years at the college level. Thomas was a state champion this last year in Idaho and had a connection with Assistant Coach Jake Lords which helped in the recruiting process. Depending on how the lineup shakes out this next season we could possibly pull his redshirt if needed.”
Angel Rios (149, Nampa, Idaho/Columbia HS)
Finished with 185-33 career record, including 50-2 as a senior…two-time Idaho state champion…four-time district champion…Wrestling USA Magazine High School All-American honorable mention…three-time national finalist.
Coach Nelson: “Angel Rios is what we refer to as a mat rat and just cannot get enough of the sport. He competes year-round and that will prepare him for the grind of the college season. Assistant Coach Jake Lords has had a good relationship with Angel and his family which helped in the recruiting process and getting Angel to commit with the Dragons. Angel was rewarded for his success on the mat this year when he was named an All-American by Wrestling USA Magazine.”
Gage Roaldson (174, Bismarck, N.D./Bismarck HS)
2020 North Dakota HS state champion at 170 pounds…Bismarck Rotary Runner-up in 2020…Placed sixth at Rumble on the Red in 2019…2019 Monster Match Nationals Runner-up.
Coach Nelson: “Gage Roaldson is from the Bismarck HS program which is the top program in ND and has had great coaching throughout his years through the Mat Pac Wrestling Club and Coach Jeff Schumacher. We know that Gage is a very technical wrestler that has the tools and ability to be a very successful Division 2 wrestler. Gage is a ND State Champion that will compete at 174 or 184. Gage is a very good student that is looking to major in biology and become an occupational therapist.”