MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University wrestling team was hoping to snag a share of the Great Plains Athletic Conference title – and send its seniors out in style – Thursday night against Morningside College, but the Mustangs had other plans.
Morningside, which is tied for 12th in the NAIA, beat the No. 17 Tigers 31-3 in a GPAC dual at the Wellness Center on the DWU campus. DWU entered the dual in second place in the conference with a 4-1 record, right behind the 4-0 Mustangs, but fell to third with the loss. Dakota Wesleyan is now 8-7 overall and 4-2 in the GPAC. Morningside moved to 10-6 overall and 5-0 in the GPAC. Concordia University is in second with a 5-1 league mark.
The dual started with two close matches Thursday night at the lower weights. Will Seydel and Brent Curtis battled at 125 pounds, and Curtis held on for a 3-2 decision to put Morningside up 3-0 early. Richard Rios picked up the Tigers’ only win of the night at 133 pounds. He and Nathan Ryan were tied at 4-4 late in the third period, but Rios got an escape with a few seconds remaining to pull ahead for the 5-4 win.
Morningside won four straight major decisions at 141, 149, 157 and 165 pounds to go up 19-3. The Mustangs closed the dual with four decisions at 174, 184, 197 pounds and heavyweight.
Thursday was also senior night for the Tigers, and Rios, Ryan Roach, Tyler Sarringar, Shea Klooster, Nick Hutcheson, Kyle Hoisington and Eric Gruis were all honored before their last match at home.
Dakota Wesleyan, which recorded the most wins since the 1968-69 season so far in 2013-14, has one more GPAC dual remaining on its schedule. The Tigers travel to Crete, Neb., to take on Doane College at 7 p.m. on Feb. 13. DWU hosts the North Qualifying Tournament starting at 9 a.m. on Feb. 22.