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Dickinson State places 7 wrestlers among top NCAA competition

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. — If the Dickinson State wrestling team has proved one this this season, is its ability to turn heads.

As the only NAIA program, the Blue Hawks placed seven wrestlers with two in the finals among top NCAA teams like North Dakota State and University of Minnesota at the North Country Open at Saint John’s University (Minn.) on Saturday afternoon.

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Seniors Jesse Hellinger and Brian Klevis, sophomores Lane Overson, Skyler Carroll, DeShun Haynes and freshmen Seth Ehlang and Jon Solano all placed in the top six of their respected weight classes, while Hellinger and Solano made it to the finals.

In the 197 weight class, Hellinger picked up two pins, a decision and a win by injury en route to his first place appearance. Hellinger faced Tommy Peterson of NDSU and a sprained his ankle, forcing a medical forfeit for the championship round. DSU head coach Thadd O’Donnell said Hellinger should be good by next week.

At 174, Solano easily made his way to the championships to meet up with NDSU redshirt freshman Matt Gray with two wins and a 3-0 decision in the semis. Gray beat Solano in a 15-6 major decision but O’Donnell was impressed with how he, and the rest of the team, handled Division I, II and III opponents.

Klevis hasn’t missed a step since returning this week from a knee injury and continued wrestling well at the tournament. He placed third overall at heavyweight, losing to Minnesota redshirt freshman Michael Kroells in a 6-2 decision.

Haynes (125), Ehlang (141) and Crroll (197) came in fifth place for their weight class and Overson (184) came in sixth after losing to St. John’s Joshua Willaert 6-2.

DSU returns home for its final home event of the year and hosts Chadron State (Neb.) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.