Dragons Rally Comes Up Short Against No. 13 Braves

Cedar Falls, Iowa – The Minnesota State University Moorhead Dragons wrestling team finished their third dual on Saturday and the team’s third against a top-15 ranked opponent when they faced No. 13 University of North Carolina at Pembroke Braves. The Dragons mounted a comeback but were turned away in the end, falling by a final of 14-20.

The Dragons’ 141-pounder Redshirt Senior Brady Schneeberger won his second match on the day when he took care of the Braves’ Tyquan Easton by a major decision. Schneeberger jumped out early with a takedown and a two-point nearfall in the opening period along with a penalty to take a 5-0 lead into the second period.

After exchanging reversals in the second, Schneeberger put Easton away with a pair of takedowns along with a two-point and three-point nearfall to secure a 17-6 win. Redshirt senior Tallen Wald got his second shutout of the day, defeating Patrick Foxworth by a final of 11-0.

Wald jumped out early, taking down Foxworth and earning a three-point nearfall to take a 5-0 lead after the first period. Wald repeated his opening performance in the second, this time earning a three-point nearfall. An escape in the third period would seal the win for Wald.

In the 174-pound contest Trent Sovde would defeat Dennis Fix in thrilling fashion. After both wrestlers earned escapes the match went into sudden victory overtime. There, Sovde gained a takedown to capture the 3-1 win. True freshman Kody Kalkbrenner followed up with an overtime thriller of his own, defeating Shiheem Bryant 7-5 in the second round of overtime.

Kalkbrenner took a 1-0 lead into the third period. In the third, Kalkbrenner’s two-point reversal and escape was enough to hold off Bryant’s comeback and send the match into overtime. After both wrestlers escaped in the second overtime period, the match moved into its second sudden victory overtime. Kalkbrenner would not let the win slip away and gained a takedown to secure the win.

The Dragons were with in three points of the Braves but James De La Riva defeated Jon Swart in a second sudden victory overtime period, and the Braves escaped the grasp of the Dragons and held on to a 20-14 win.

The Dragons will now move on to their Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference schedule with a dual against No. 3 Augustana (S.D.) in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.

Dragons Wrestling Upsets No. 10 Grand Canyon

Cedar Falls, Iowa – The Minnesota State University Moorhead Dragons wrestling team went right back to work after falling to No. 1 Nebraska-Omaha against No. 10 Grand Canyon (Ariz.), their fourth ranked opponent in a row. The Dragons’ lower weights won four of their first five matches to propel the Dragons to an 18-16 upset.

The Dragons got another solid performance from 125-pounder Corey Ulmer as he defeated Grand Canyon’s Madison Gambrell 12-7. Ulmer had two reversals in his opening period and finished off Gambrell with a two-point and three-point nearfall in the third.

Redshirt senior Jon Swart also gained his second win on the day, edging out Peter Anguiano by a final of 4-3. Swart used a takedown to keep pace with Anguiano 2-2 after the second period. In the third Swart’s escape gave him the edge with riding time to secure the win.

Fellow senior Brady Schneeberger wasted little time in bouncing back, pinning Kyle Wilson just 2:10 into the opening frame to start a run by the Dragons. Tyler Steinwand, the Dragons’ 149-pounder, also bounced back with a big win over Austen Morre. Steinwand’s three takedowns and reversal were too much for Moore to overcome as Steinwand took the match by a final of 9-2.

Senior Tallen Wald shutout Grand Canyon’s Teddy Bristol 6-0 in the 157-pound matchup. Wald jumped out to a 2-0 lead after gaining a takedown of Bristol. After a scoreless second period, Wald gained a reversal and capped it off with a point for both riding time and a penalty called against Bristol.

The Dragons even up their dual season record at 2-2 and will move on to face North Carolina at Pembroke to cap off day one of the National Duals in Cedar Falls at 5 p.m.

Dragons Strong Start Not Enough Against Top Ranked Mavericks

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The Minnesota State University Moorhead Dragons opened up the National Duals in Iowa. The Dragons jumped out early over the No. 1 ranked Mavericks but could not hold off the top ranked team and fell by a final of 13-33.

The Dragons got on the board first when 125-pounder Corey Ulmer captured a major decision over Nebraska-Omaha’s Cody Tyler. Ulmer had a pair of takedowns and a two-point nearfall in the first period while yielding only one point on an escape.

Ulmer backed up his tough first period by taking down Tyler once again and putting him on his back for another two-point nearfall, putting him up 10-1. Ulmer would gain one more point on riding time and go on to an 11-1 win.

Redshirt Senior Evan Forde (141 pounds) would also gain points for the Dragons, getting a forfeit win over the Mavericks. The Dragons could not secure another win until the final match when Redshirt Senior and heavyweight Jon Swart defeated Taylor Escamilla 6-5.

Swart found himself down 0-1 after two periods but rallied in the third. Swart gained a pair of escapes and capitalized with one reversal and a takedown to give himself the win. But the top-ranked Mavericks run through the middleweights gave them the momentum to secure a final 33-13 win over the Dragons.

The Dragons fall to 1-2 on the dual season, both losses coming against No. 1 ranked teams, and will now move on to face Grand Canyon (Ariz.) at 1 p.m.

SDSU’s Flynn leads team at National Duals

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Nick Flynn lead the Jacks with a 2-0 record at the National Wrestling Coaches Association/Cliff Keen National Duals Saturday in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The South Dakota State wrestling team dropped two duals on the day to end the team’s run in the National Duals.

The Jacks lost to no. five-ranked (Intermat) and third-seeded Wisconsin 42-3 Saturday morning. Later in the day, the Jacks dropped a second dual to no. 27-ranked and sixth-seeded Oregon State 45-3.

Flynn defeated Charles York of Wisconsin by a 5-2 decision to start the day. The 157-pounder then went on to top Alex Elder of Oregon State by a 6-4 decision.

The Jacks, with two open weight classes at 125 and 133, missed four matches by decision against Wisconsin and three more against OSU. The Jacks also recorded two losses by technical fall, five by fall and two by major decision.

The Jacks return to Frost Arena when they host Western Wrestling Conference foe Northern Iowa Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.

Johnnies Set for National Stage This Weekend

The SJU wrestling team, ranked third nationally, returns to action at the prestigious NWCA/Cliff Keen Division III National Duals this Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 8-9. The Johnnies are scheduled to face No. 26 Johnson & Wales (R.I.) at 11 a.m. in the first round of the dual tournament held at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. –  Tournament Website | Bracket

A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: SJU returns to competition for the first time since going 3-1 at the Vegas Duals Dec. 20. The Johnnies posted a 44-3 win over the University of Chicago, and sandwiched an 18-13 loss to then-No. 27 Olivet (Mich.) with tough wins over then-No. 1 Wartburg (21-15) and then-No. 3 Coe (18-17). SJU slid one spot to No. 3 in the latest Brute-Adidas National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III team rankings released Jan. 4. Other teams ranked from the NCAA Great Lakes Region include Augsburg (No. 1), which jumped five spots from sixth to the top ranking, Concordia-Moorhead (No. 7), Elmhurst (No. 22) and North Central (No. 27).

Six of the Johnnies’ starting 10 were ranked individually: senior Minga Batsukh (7-0 record; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia/St. Benedict’s Prep, N.J.), No. 3 at 149 pounds; senior Matt Baarson (10-2 record; Brooklyn Park, Minn./Champlin Park), No. 4 at 165; senior Chris Sandy (10-2 record; Spirit Lake, Iowa), No. 5 at 141; junior Dustin Baxter (9-1 record; Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley), No. 8 at 184; junior Chad Henle (10-2 record; Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer), No. 8 at 133; and senior Tony Willaert (6-5 record, 5-3 at 197; North Mankato, Minn./Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial), No. 10 at 197.

BATSUKH THE BULLY: The bump up to 149 pounds from 141, a weight class in which he has won each of the last two national championships, seems to be a smooth transition thus far for senior Minga Batsukh, who went 3-0 in Las Vegas. Of his seven victories, he boasts three pins, one technical fall, two major decisions and just one straight decision.

BRACKET OPPONENTS: The Johnson & Wales dual will feature an All-American matchup at 184 between SJU’s Dustin Baxter and No. 6 Brennan Ward, the Wildcats’ lone nationally-ranked wrestler. Ward has won 14 consecutive matches since losing his season opener Nov. 6. He went 10-1 at 197 pounds before cutting down to 184 and posting four pins at the Gator Duals Dec. 19.

The Johnnies will face either No. 6 Ithaca (N.Y.) or No. 19 Wilkes (Pa.). Ithaca boasts five ranked wrestlers, including the fifth-ranked grapplers at 133 and 149. The Bombers are also strong at heavyweight (No. 4 Matt Mahon), 174 (No. 6 David Priest) and 157 (No. 7 Derek Brenon). Wilkes’ Anthony Dattolo is ranked eighth at 149 pounds.

The other cluster of four teams on the bottom end of the bracket features No. 2 Wartburg, No. 7 Concordia-Moorhead, No. 13 Dubuque (Iowa) and No. 28 Heidelberg (Ohio).

LAST YEAR: Saint John’s went 2-1 in the first day of last year’s National Duals. The Johnnies suffered a 22-15 loss to No. 12 Delaware Valley in the opening round before defeating Dubuque (Iowa) 19-18 and North Central (Ill.) 15-15 (won by tie-breaker criteria, most near-fall points). SJU forfeited the match at 125 in both duals the following day and fell then-No. 9 Concordia-Moorhead (22-13) and then-No. 16 Cornell of Iowa (25-20). Matt Baarson recorded a perfect 5-0 record in the tournament at 165 pounds.

Auggies back in top spot in national rankings

MINNEAPOLIS — The 11-time national champion Augsburg College wrestling team has returned to the No. 1 spot in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III national rankings, and will be the top-ranked team in this weekend’s NWCA/Cliff Keen Division III National Duals, presented by Hibiclens and The Marines, in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Augsburg will attempt to become the first school to win three straight titles in the 10-year history of the NWCA Division III National Duals. Action begins on Saturday at 9 a.m., as Augsburg faces No. 29-ranked Luther (Iowa), and will face either No. 10-ranked Wisconsin-Stevens Point or No. 12-ranked Cornell (Iowa) on Saturday at 1 p.m. Action will continue both Saturday and Sunday at the UNI-Dome, with the Division III championship match slated for Sunday at 3 p.m.

All 16 teams in the Division III field are ranked in the top 30 in the latest Division III national poll, with the top seven ranked teams all represented in the field.

Since the NWCA began the Division III National Duals in 2002, the trophy has rested at either Augsburg or Wartburg (Iowa). Augsburg has won the title five times (2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), while Wartburg has won the crown four times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2008).

Augsburg is 32-4 in NWCA Division III National Duals competition since 2002. Augsburg also appeared in five NWCA National Duals competitions prior to the 2002 season, when the defending Division III national champion was invited to compete with Division I squads. Augsburg is 37-13 all-time in NWCA National Duals competition. In its 36 Division III National Duals meets, Augsburg has outscored its competition by a 1,109-336 margin, an average score of 30.8 to 9.3.

After winning its 11th NCAA Division III national title last March, the Auggies opened the 2010-11 campaign in the top spot in the NWCA Brute/Adidas Division III national rankings. But after a 25-6 loss to Augustana (S.D.) on Nov. 24, the Auggies slipped to the No. 6 spot in the rankings in the third and fourth polls of the season.

However, with the return to the Auggie lineup of three All-Americans who will compete in the second semester — 165-pounder Orlando Ponce (SR, Hialeah, Fla./Hialeah-Miami Lakes HS), 174-pounder Zach Molitor (SR, Cambridge, Minn./Cambridge-Isanti HS) and 197-pounder Jared Massey(SR, Circle Pines, Minn./Centennial HS) — and an outstanding performance at the Florida Citrus Open on Dec. 29-30, the Auggies have returned to the top spot in the national polls.

Eight individuals are ranked in the top 10 in their weight classes, including three wrestlers at No. 2 — 149-pounder Tony Valek (JR, Belle Plaine, Minn./Scott West), Ponce at 165 and Molitor at 174. Massey is ranked No. 3 at 197. Josh Roberts (SO, Grand Forks, N.D./Grand Forks Central HS) is ranked No. 5 at 125, Brad Baus (JR, Mukwonago, Wis.) is ranked No. 7 at 184, Cody Hansen (SO, Albert Lea, Minn.) is ranked No. 8 at 184 and Chad Johnson (FY, Ferryville, Wis./DeSoto HS) is ranked No. 8 at heavyweight.

Gophers Set to Compete at National Duals

MINNEAPOLIS — The No. 5 Golden Gophers (6-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) will once again compete at the 2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals this weekend in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Sixteen Division I teams will compete at this weekend’s tournament including 13 nationally ranked teams. No. 5 Minnesota opens the National Duals as the fourth seed against Northern Illinois on Saturday at 9 a.m. CST. Other opening-round duals include Ohio State against top seeded Cornell, the No. 1 team in Division I wrestling; Northern Iowa against eighth seeded Missouri; fifth seed Boise State taking on Iowa State; three seed Wisconsin against South Dakota State; American against six seed Oregon State; the seven seed Virginia Tech against Central Michigan and finally Purdue against No. 2 seed Oklahoma State. A complete Division I bracket is attached.

Follow the Action
Can’t watch the Gophers live on the road? Gophers results will be posted throughout the week on Gophersports.com while results will also be updated as they become available on the Golden Gopher Wrestling Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also follow a live blog throughout the day courtesy of Gophersports.com. NWCAonline.com will also be broadcasting portions of the event.

Last Time Out
Minnesota closed out 2010 with a fifth-place finish at the Southern Scuffle in Greensboro, N.C. Six Gophers placed at the event to give Minnesota 126.5 points. Cornell and Penn State tied for the team title with 151.5 points each. Mike Thorn and Zach Sanders each posted runner-up finishes to pace Minnesota while Kevin Steinhaus and Tony Nelson both won the consolation brackets of their respective weight classes.

Next Up
A week after competing at the 2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, the Gophers return home for just their second home dual of the season on Friday, January 16. Minnesota hosts Big Ten rival Indiana at 7:00 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis. Tickets information is available atmygophersports.com or by calling 1-800-UGOPHER.

Get Score Updates on Your Phone
Fans can get scoring updates from all of Golden Gopher athletics through the Twitter page @GopherScores. Just find and follow @GopherScores, then set up your phone or mobile device to receive the text updates. If you are not already on Twitter, you will need to create an account.

Follow the Gophers
Want exclusive, up-to-the-minute access to Golden Gopher Wrestling? Follow the team online at twitter.com/gopherwrestling andfacebook.com/gopherwrestling for news, results and other exclusive content.

Bison Set to Compete at Wolfpack Duals

FARGO, N.D. – The North Dakota State wrestling team will compete at the Wolfpack Duals in Raleigh, N.C. Saturday, Jan. 8 beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. The Bison will open against Mercyhurst at 1 p.m. and then will take on Campbell at 2:30 p.m. NDSU will wrestle Anderson at 5:30 p.m. before wrapping up action against host North Carolina State at 7 p.m. Results will be available on GoPack.com.

Salminen, Sprenkle ranked in InterMat top 20
Senior Vince Salminen is No. 16 at 157 pounds in the InterMat Wrestle rankings released Tuesday, Jan. 4. He moves up three spots after entering the poll at No. 19 on Dec. 21. Salminen is 24-4 overall this season with seven pins and has set a career best for wins in a season. Sophomore Trent Sprenkle is No. 18 at 125 pounds for the second consecutive poll. Sprenkle is 19-6 overall.

Sprenkle, Salminen lead NDSU at Reno Tournament of Champions
Sophomore Trent Sprenkle placed second at 125 pounds with a 5-1 record and senior Vince Salminen came in third at 157 pounds with a 6-1 mark to lead the Bison to a 14th place finish at the Reno Tournament of Champions Sunday, Dec. 19.

Bison open WWC action Jan. 14
NDSU will host Northern Iowa on Friday, Jan. 14 to kick off Western Wrestling Conference action. The match will begin at 7 p.m. at the Bison Sports Arena.

Luther travels to UNI for NWCA National Duals

The Luther Norse will take a 4-4 dual meet record into this weekend’s NWCA Division III National Duals.

The Norse have accomplished that mark with a young team comprised of 8 freshmen starters and a pair of sophomores. The good news is that 5 senior starters are expected to be in the line-up to provide more quality and leadership for the No. 16 seeded Norse:

Coach Dave Mitchell and his staff welcome two-time All-American Jason Pyle, National Qualifier Kevin Bokoski, Lance Serbousek, Bradon Reyerson, (Albert Lea), and local Decorah, IA Prep State Champ Taylor Mansfield back into the line-up this weekend. The Norse face the tough task of hooking up with No. 1 Seeded Augsburg in first round action. The Norse will always fight hard and are excited for the weekend duals.

Early season highlights include Bokoski’s UW- Stevens Point Title, a runner finish for Garrett Bonte at Augsburg, and upsets by talented freshmen wrestlers Bonte and Daniel Mendoza over ranked wrestlers and a returning All-American in the UW-La Crosse dual meet.

The roster also includes Minnesota prep wrestlers Jarid Groth, (Kenyon-Wanamingo), Jake Fox (Owatonna), Nate Henry (Fillmore Central), Brock Lampman (Fillmore Central, along with Reyerson (Albert Lea Area).

Projected starters for the NWCA National Duals:

125 Daniel Mendoza (Mesa, AZ)
133 Louis Mazzetta (Libertyville, IL)
141 Kevin Bokoski (Minooka, IL)
149 Jason Pyle (Sabetha, Kansas)
157 Calvin Canales (Rio, WI), or Jake Seibert Rockford, IA
165 Garrett Bonte (Glenwood City, WI)
174 Lance Serbousek (Louisberg, Kan.) or Jarid Groth (Wanamingo, MN)
184 Mat Fassbinder (Elgin, IA)
197 Bradon Reyerson (Glenville, MN)
Hwt Taylor Mansfield (Decorah, IA or Collin White (Glenwood, IA)