Huskies Wrestling continues competition in Mitchell, South Dakota
ST. CLOUD, Minn. – No. 2 St. Cloud State Wrestling continues competition with the Dakota Wesleyan Open this Saturday at the DWU/Avera Sports & Wellness Complex in Mitchell, South Dakota.
The open will begin at 9:00 a.m. CT with one division. SCSU is one of six NSIC teams scheduled to appear at the open alongside No. 5 Augustana, No. 8 Mary, No. 17 Northern State, No. 24 Southwest Minnesota State, and MSU-Moorhead. More than 20 teams are expected to compete on Saturday, including No. 1 Nebraska Kearney.
“This week has been a little bit different. We took Tuesday off for Civil Service Day, then were back on the mat Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to prepare for Saturday. We just have a lot of fundamentals that we need to continue to get better at. We went over a lot of stuff on Monday, but it’s not enough – it probably won’t be the last time we talk about the issues we discussed on Monday. I know these guys are excited to get back on the mat on Saturday to continue to sharpen up their wrestling skills.”
On areas of focus in the early season… “It’s all about basic skills. These are skills that were taught at early ages that you need to do at a high level. It doesn’t take a bunch of fancy skills or tricks to be the best at this sport. We just need to continue to improve our basic skills and fundamentals. If we can get one percent better every day with those things, then good things will happen.”
On positional battles… “It’s early. Certainly all of these weights are still up for grabs and will continue to be for many more weeks. No question at 133 with the results from Caleb Meekins, he definitely gained some ground there – but that contest isn’t over for a couple other guys there. 165 is a weight that’s a head-scratcher for us right now, but I think Jared Head is taking control of that weight class. We’ll see what happens with consistency over the next couple of weeks, but we’ll take it one day at a time. There’s a lot of battles at these classes within our room, and we’ll continue watching everyone.”
On what he looks for in the early-season opens… “Improvements. Improvements from week one to week two. I’m not looking at win-loss records or anything like that – I’m just looking for improvements. Improving your positions that you had a difficult time with this last week. That’s all I’m looking for. Each guy to make a little improvement, gain more confidence and then for others to stay consistent.”
Memories in Mitchell
Last season at the Dakota Wesleyan Open, St. Cloud State took home six of the 10 titles with 14 top-three finishes. SCSU placed both wrestlers in the Finals at 125, 141, and 149 with titles won by Paxton Creese (125), Joey Bianchini (141), Jake Barzowski (149), Colby Njos (157), Devin Donovan (165) and Noah Ryan (197). Creese enjoyed a stellar trip to South Dakota at 125 with two pins and a pair of tech falls as part of a 5-0 day. Njos was 4-0 with two pins for the title at 157.
Titles on Titles
The Huskies have perennially enjoyed tremendous success at opens, earning 33 titles last season between the Cobber, Dakota Wesleyan, North Country, Dragon, and Don Parker Opens.
Up for Grabs
Armed with one of the deepest wrestling rooms in the country, the Dakota Wesleyan Open provides another key opportunity for SCSU to determine their starting lineup ahead of the Chadron State Duals. The Huskies graduated four members of their 2022 NCAA Super Region V Championship team – 133-pounder and national runner-up Garrett Vos, 184-pounder Billy Pitzner, three-time All-American 197-pounder Noah Ryan and 2021 NCAA Champion heavyweight Kameron Teacher – along with Devin Donovan, a frequent starter at 165.
Last Time Out
Eight Huskies earned titles at the Yellowjacket Open as No. 2 St. Cloud State Wrestling enjoyed a strong performance in Rochester on Saturday. Caleb Meekins headlined the six titles earned in the Open Division of the Yellowjacket, pinning No. 1 Reece Barnhardt of Mary in the Finals bout at 133 while going 3-0 with a major and a tech fall to go with his fall. Alyeus Craig went 3-0 with a tech fall at 141 to earn a title while Nick Novak won the 149-pound title with a 3-0 open, recording a major decision and a tech fall. No. 5 Colby Njos won each of his three matches to take the title at 157 while No. 1 Abner Romero outscored his three opponents 38-5 to earn the 174-pound title. Dominic Murphy rounded out the Open Division champs with a 4-0 open in his debut at 197, scoring a major along with an upset 3-1 decision over No. 4 Matt Kaylor of Mary. Elijah Novak and Jadon Mims were co-champs in the Freshman/Sophomore Division at heavyweight. Novak went 3-0 while Mims was 4-0 – both true freshmen heavies won by fall in their first collegiate match.
Pinning a Crown
St. Cloud State redshirt junior 133-pounder Caleb Meekins has been named NSIC Wrestler of the Week in his debut weekend with the Huskies. Meekins went 3-0 at the Yellowjacket Open to earn the title at 133 pounds, earning bonus points in each of his three matches with a pin of No. 1 Reece Barnhardt (Mary) in the Finals. Meekins joined SCSU this fall after a redshirt season at Northern Illinois and two All-American campaigns at Indian Hills College. The Livonia, Michigan product earned ICCAC and NJCAA North Central District Championships at Indian Hills while placing fourth and third at the 2021 and 2022 NJCAA Championships.
Information regarding single dual and season tickets can be found at scsutickets.com. For all the latest on St. Cloud State Wrestling, stay tuned to SCSUHuskies.com and follow the team on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.