Blue Hawks fall to Montana State University-Northern in home wrestling dual
DICKINSON — The Scott Gymnasium at Dickinson State University was buzzing with energy as area crowds poured in for the big wrestling dual against Montana State University-Northern on Wednesday evening.
Built in 1953, the historic gymnasium has long been the home of the Blue Hawks Volleyball, Basketball and Wrestling teams, and on this night, it was clear that the community was fully behind their wrestlers.
DSU hosted Montana State University-Northern, and despite some exciting opportunities in nearly every match, the visitors would come out on top with a score of 28-9.
DSU’s head coach Justin Schlecht said that the mental aspect in wrestling is monumental at this level and was a contributing factor to some of the losses they suffered in the meet.
“We got a few guys that are missing some of the little things and it's not our abilities, it's what is going on between our ears,” Schlecht said. “I think if we make those adjustments and we keep plugging along we could be in a good spot at the end of February for the qualifier and March for nationals.”
“Especially at this level there is so much more of it, the mental battle, because every kid in the country is a state champ or a state placer… does all the extra things. So it is imperative that we are doing the extra mental reps.”
MATCH OF THE NIGHT
In the match of the night, Jose Gonzalez, representing Dickinson State, took on Tanner Cook.
As the wrestlers stepped onto the mat, the eager crowd cheered as Gonzalez and Cook locked in their stances and began to circle each other in the opening match of the dual.
Gonzalez shot a quick takedown attempt on a snapdown, but Cook defended well and broke away for space before returning to the clinch. Moments later a fake shot, coming after slapping the mat, opened Cook’s defense, Gonzalez took advantage and secured the legs. Despite the control, the two remained locked in a 50-50 position with neither gaining any points.
Gonzalez used excellent wrist control throughout the first period. With 1:42 left in the first, Gonzalez timed a perfect cross-body horizontal pull to reach Cook's legs and secure the 2 points.
After some riding time, Cook secured an escape only to be immediately sent back to the mat on a power double. The ensuing scramble ended with Cook making good use of his hips to secure a transition in control and 2 points before the two broke and circled for the remaining part of the period.
The match was on a knife edge as the first period ended 5-3 in favor of Gonzalez while both wrestlers looked to come out on top in the second.
In the second period, Gonzalez took the top position, securing a high-crotch single that lifted Cook off the mat and out of bounds for no points to the cheers of the crowd. Back at center mat, Gonzalez consistently flattened Cook out and gained significant riding time.
Gonzalez was relentless in his attacks and looked to be on his way to securing more points but Cook was able to defend well and prevent Gonzalez from gaining any more points. The period ended without points for either wrestler as Gonzalez couldn't take advantage of the dominant position.
The crowd was on its feet cheering for both wrestlers as the match came down to the final period. The pressure was on as both wrestlers knew that the next point would be crucial in determining the winner of the match.
In the third period, Gonzalez secured an immediate escape in less than 6 seconds, earning 1 point and bringing the match to 6-3. Cook shot a single, but Gonzalez's hips were too powerful as he sprawled out and transitioned immediately for his own successful takedown attempt for two points. Dickinson State University's Papa John's Player of the Month for December, Gonzalez, released Cook giving up the 1 point escape to launch a second frenzied attempt on his legs in hopes of pushing the score out of reach.
“Jose got fourth in Hastings,” Schlecht said. “He is buying into the process of taking chances and being offensive and making some good adjustments to his technical stuff on the mat.”
The risky move would result in a 50-50 position and Cook regaining his feet with 1:06 remaining. With 30 seconds to go, Cook launched a double that lifted Gonzalez and earned the 2 points for a takedown to bring the match to 8-6.
Gonzalez, rather than turtling and running out the clock, regained his footing for 1 point to close the match. The crowd was on its feet as the final seconds ticked away, and the referee signaled the end of the match with a final score of 9-6 in favor of Gonzalez. A tenth point was added to Gonzalez's score after the match.
Dickinson State University's fans erupted in cheers as Gonzalez's hand was raised in victory, signaling a strong start to the evening for the home team.
THE REST OF THE DUAL
However, Montana State-Northern quickly took control of the dual, winning the next five weight classes.
Brennon McDermott defeated Wyatt Engwicht at 133 pounds, Colin Silverthorn defeated Dante Venema at 141 pounds, Martin Wilkie defeated Tayt Wolding at 149 pounds, NaKoda Siegel defeated Isaac Andersen at 174 pounds, and Austin Vanek defeated Samuel Adams at 184 pounds.
Dickinson State was able to secure two more wins, with Kale Corley defeating Connor Harris at 157 pounds and Kyle Anderson defeating Rylan Moldenhauer at 285 pounds, but Montana State-Northern secured the remaining weight classes, with Devin Crawford defeating Tate Nordby at 165 pounds and Carl Hansen defeating Konrich Speelmon at 197 pounds.
“[Anderson] did a great job, getting the rust knocked off and committing to it,” Schlecht said. “Getting out there and getting that win is huge, let alone getting out there after a knee surgery.”