On Saturday, Jan. 25, the Northwestern wrestling team traveled to Mitchell, South Dakota, for this year’s GPAC duals.
They competed against three teams: Dakota Wesleyan, Midland University and Morningside College. The wrestling team ended their day with a 2-1 record, beating Dakota Wesleyan, 39-9, Midland University, 44-6 and losing to Morningside College, 27-21. Only three matches out of 10 were wrestled in both the Midland and Dakota Wesleyan duals.
The Raiders split their matches in the six wrestled, winning three out of six. In the final dual of the day, the Raiders battled Morningside. The teams ended up splitting matches with Morningside, but it was Morningside’s three pins and NW’s open weight at 197 pounds that ultimately gave the Mustangs an advantage in the outcome.
“Guys wrestled hard today,” said Coach Rik Dahl. “I thought we did a good job of initiating attacks in neutral. A lot of the mistakes that were made were aggressive mistakes, and those are fun mistakes to deal with.
“We have to learn the difference between controlling action and forcing positions. The loss to Morningside stung, because it felt like we let a lot of opportunities slip away. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs at times.
“We have some things to work on, these guys have been good about critiquing their work and forming a plan of attack and that’s what we will work on next week.”
Junior Bennett Sikkink, currently serving as a student-assistant coach said, “In the first two duals, the Raiders faced teams who were struggling to fill a lineup due to injuries, but the guys who had a match went out and battled to put an exclamation on the day.
“The last dual put our team to the test as we were out four starters due to injury, though we didn’t come out with the win, we wrestled a top team in the conference with technique and crisp discipline. We controlled the center of the mat well which is something we have struggled with all season, as well as being the aggressor and taking smart shots. Lots of positives to count on as the Conference Qualifier approaches.”
Moving forward, the Raiders will be wrestling Saturday, Jan. 31 at the Sioux City Open and Thursday, Feb. 6 at home against Augustana and Jamestown.