With a conference record of 2-1, the NW wrestlers challenged Briar Cliff, Dakota Wesleyan and Dana in the GPAC tournament last Saturday. The level of competition was high, with Dana College ranked seventh in NAIA standings. However, the Raiders rose to the occasion and wrestled with their best efforts.
“I think we came out a little flat but everyone did a good job of fighting through it and showed a good effort,” said senior Nick Wellman. “We had some guys step up and do pretty good. Jon Hoksbergen and Ben Hummel did very well and so did Jay Wood and Courtney Goodwin.”
The Raiders placed second in the tournament, right behind Dana College. Junior Jon Hoksbergen placed first in his weight class at heavy weight and senior Nick Wellman place second in the same weight category. Other individual placers included sophomore Scott Treft, 3rd at 133; junior Adam Mohr, 2nd at 141; freshman Courtney Goodwin, 3rd at 149; freshman Jay Wood, 3rd at 165 and senior Ben Hummel, 2nd at 174. Although the Raiders didn’t take first in the conference, they were very pleased with their second place standings.
“I think Dana was head and shoulders above everyone out. I think that even after coming out flat we kept fighting and got second. Dana is ranked seventh in the nation so coming out second to them is still pretty good,” said Wellman.
The team is now focusing on the end of their season: the Regional Tournament and the NAIA National Tournament. Theyhave high hopes and expectations for the outcome of the tournaments.
“I feel like there is unfinished business still. I want to go and do well at nationals,” said Hummel. “I expect just like every other time that all the guys go out and wrestle their best and then hopefully we’ll come out with some regional champs and then one or two All-Americans.”
The coaching staff, as well as upperclassmen Hummel and Wellman, feels that the freshman class has made a very big impact on the success of the season.
“I think this season we had our best class of freshmen and they helped create a good intense environment in the practice room. Because of them we won quite a few dual meets,” said Hummel.
The team hopes the progress and success continues to increase as they finish their season.
“I think we didn’t have much upperclass leadership, so getting some good freshmen was really important to our success. We are getting people back from injuries now, so we’ll hopefully do pretty well at the national tournament and hopefully we could get some more national qualifiers,” said Wellman.
“I think this is probably the year we’ve had the most team success, so it’s nice to end my career on the best team we’ve had here. It’s nice to see a good group of freshmen come in to build a good base for our future program,” Wellman concluded.