Both wrestlers finished seventh in their respective weight classes and earned All-American honors in the second day of the NAIA Wrestling National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Paulsen won a 6-4 decision in the 149-pound seventh-place match and DeVestern picked up a 9-2 win at 157 pounds.
Paulsen – who ends the year 22-14 – got a takedown right away against Benedictine’s Joe Hunter, and led 4-1 after the first thanks to a second takedown. Hunter got an escape early in the second to make it 4-2, but Paulsen scored on a takedown in the final seconds of the second period to go up 6-2. Hunter scored in the third, but Paulsen held on for the win.
DeVestern’s match against Southern Oregon’s Dalton Urrutia was tied 0-0 after the first period, but DeVestern – a Pearblossom, Calif., native – scored on a takedown in the second to go up 2-0. Urrutia escaped twice in the third, but DeVestern scored on two takedowns and a nearfall to end his season with a win and a 22-9 record.
Paulsen started the second day of the national tournament with a 7-4 loss to Missouri Valley’s Jake Ekster. Ekster got a takedown early, but Paulsen scored on a reversal to tie the match at 2-2. Ekster scored again in the first on a reversal, and went up 6-2 in the second on another takedown. Paulsen scored twice more on escapes, but couldn’t ever get the takedown.
In DeVestern’s first match of the day, he lost a 7-2 decision to Montana State-Northern’s Edward Cheff. DeVestern scored the first takedown of the match, but Cheff got two reversals and scored two on back points to hold on for the win and send DeVestern to the seventh-place match.
The sophomore duo is the 14th and 15th All-Americans in DWU wrestling history. This marks the first time since 2004 Dakota Wesleyan has had more than one All-American in a season, and the Tigers’ first All-Americans since 2011.