MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University wrestling team is tied for 16th in the NAIA Wrestling Preseason Top 20 Coaches’ Poll, which was released Wednesday afternoon.
The Tigers received 43.5 points in the poll and are tied with Missouri Valley. Southern Oregon is No. 1 with 139 points, and Morningside College is the top Great Plains Athletic Conference school in the poll at No. 7. Midland University is the only other GPAC school in the poll. The Warriors are 13th with 53 points.
Dakota Wesleyan, which went 7-10 last season and took fourth at the North Qualifying Tournament and 26th at nationals, also has several individuals ranked in their respective weight classes. Sophomore Trever DeVestern is the top-ranked Tiger wrestler after a standout freshman season. He is third at 157 pounds. Nick Hutcheson is fifth at 165 pounds and Kyle Gerlach is ninth at the same weight. Junior Richard Rios, who went 27-9 as a sophomore, is seventh at 133 pounds and Tyler Sarringar is 12th at 174 pounds.
DeVestern earned All-GPAC First Team honors as a freshman in 2012 after finishing the year 41-15 and setting school records for wins (41) and pins (24) in a season. Rios, Hutcheson and Gerlach all earned All-GPAC Second Team honors. All five ranked wrestlers qualified for the national tournament last season.
The qualifying group polls were also released recently, and the Tigers are ranked third in the North Group. Dakota Wesleyan received 121 points in the poll and finished behind Midland (134) and Dickinson State (131). Morningside is fourth, Hastings College sixth, Concordia University seventh and Northwestern College is ranked eighth.
The Tigers have three wrestlers ranked No. 1 in the North Group in their respective weight classes. Rios (133), DeVestern (157) and Hutcheson (165) are all No. 1 and Gerlach (165), Sarringar (174) are second. Freshman Jade Hoisington is fifth at 197 pounds and Eric Gruis is fourth at heavyweight.
Dakota Wesleyan opens the 2012-13 season Friday, Nov. 9, when it hosts the University of Regina at 6 p.m. at home. The Tigers host their annual DWU Open starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10.