Eagles top Blue Hawks in home finale
Wednesday night was the Dickinson State wrestling team’s final home dual for the season and hosted a rematch with Division II powerhouse Chadron State (Neb.).
Although the final outcome wasn’t what DSU wanted — the Eagles won 25-15 — the team overall showed mass improvements since the last time they met on Dec. 11 when Chardon won 33-4.
“From progression from our last time we wrestled them to this, I’m pretty happy where we at,” DSU head coach Thadd O’Donnell said. “… we closed the gap a little more than they thought we were going to be and that’s good.”
DSU’s four wins came from freshmen Seth Ehlang and Jon Solano and seniors Jesse Hellinger and Brian Klevis.
Ehlang picked up the team’s first points — and a revenge victory — with a 5-2 decision over redshirt freshman Jay Stine at 141 pounds. The two faced each other at Chadron and Stine won in a tight 2-1 decision.
At 165, Solano picked up DSU’s only pin of the night at the 5 minutes, 17 seconds mark of the bout. Solano and junior Tyler Smart were scoreless in the first two periods until Solano escaped for the 1-0 score. Solano then swiftly took down Smart and threw him on his back for the pin and win.
“I just went out there and relaxed and stayed confident with what I knew and did what I could,” Solano said.
Hellinger picked up his last home win as a Blue Hawk in a 3-0 decision over junior Devan Fors. In the first period, neither wrestler collected a takedown. At the beginning of the second, Hellinger chose the down position and was awarded a point for an escape.
He was then able to grab ahold of Fors’ leg and take him down for the 3-0 lead. Hellinger’s takedown marked the final points in the match.
“I didn’t capitalize when I could, I just got a little winded and I got to focus on my cardio,” Hellinger said. “I got the win but that’s not good enough for me. If I need to be where I want to be at the end of the season, I got to expect perfection.”
In the heavyweight matchup, Klevis and junior Mike Hill battled back and forth. Down 4-2 in the third, Klevis scored on an escape and picked up a takedown, grabbing Hill by the ankles before he slipped out of bounds. Klevis won 5-4.
As the last home dual of the season, it was also the last career home match for seniors Hellinger, Klevis and Mack Chambers. Each wrestler has progressed in his own way and each brought something different to the team which will be dearly missed.
Although Chambers has had a tough season facing top-tier opponents — No. 4-ranked Chadron wrestler Dustin Stodola beat him 12-0 Wednesday — O’Donnell said he is a master at technician, a great teacher and leader in practices and someone who can be a future coach.
“I think more than anything it’s been about the people around me, Chambers said about the team. “These guys opened their arms for me so I think the whole program has been great to me and I couldn’t ask for any other place to spend my last couple of years.”
Hellinger has not only been a successful wrestler for DSU, but he has been a humble winner and model leader. O’Donnell said it is rare to have one of the better wrestlers “be a good guy, a great citizen and does the right things and is a positive role model” for the younger wrestlers.
With four events left, Hellinger said he has cherished every moment, wrestled as hard as he could and happy his last match at DSU was a win.
“I have no regrets about anything,” he said. “I’ve done I’m glad I ended on a win and got my hand raised one last time in good old Scott Gymnasium now it’s time to get a few more hand raises and be done with it.”
The Blue Hawks have a busy weekend of wrestling, first traveling to take on Northern State University (S.D.) at 7 p.m. today and then to the Eau Claire Tournament at 9 a.m. Saturday in Eau Claire, Wis.
“Tomorrow is an opportunity and once it starts, it’s passed so you only get one shot at it and you better make it count,” O’Donnell said. “All you want to do is go hard as you can for seven minutes and if you win you win and if you lose you lose. But at least you’ll know you put everything you had into those seven minutes.”
125: Taylor Summers, C, pin. Deshun Haynes, 3:00. 133: Dustin Stodola, C, maj. dec. Matt Chambers, 12-0. 141: Seth Ehlang, DSU, dec. Jay Stine, 5-2. 149: Jacob Anderson, C, pin. Garrett Traylor, 2:42. 157: C.J. Clark C, dec. Sean Elkins 8-6, OT. 165: Jon Solano, DSU, pin. Tyler Smart, 5:17. 174: Caleb Copeland, C, dec. Jonathan Morales, 10-4. 184: Jordan Debus, C, dec. Lane Oversen, 11-7. 197: Jesse Hellinger, DSU, dec. Devan Fors, 3-0. 285: Brian Klevis, DSU, dec. Michael Hill, 5-4.