MITCHELL, S.D. - The Dickinson State wrestling team had a long day, but it survived and excelled in its first tournament of the year.

The Blue Hawks had four wrestlers finish in the top four of their respected weight classes Saturday morning and afternoon at the Dakota Wesleyan University and won a total of 49 matches which head coach Thad O’Donnell called a good day.

“We did good for our first tournament,” O’Donnell said. “Most of (the competition) have wrestled for a couple weeks and have a couple tournaments under their belt. This is our first one so a lot of our first year guys are down and all our freshmen it’s their first competition, so with that in mind I thought we did very well.”

Sophomore Sean Elkins finished 4th in the 149 weight class with two pins, freshman Jon Solano placed 2nd in a tight 3-2 match against DWU’s Trever Devestern in the 165 weight class. Both sophomore Lane Oversen (184) and senior Brian Klevis (heavyweight) finished 3rd in their respected weight classes while Oversen went 6-1 with five pins. Sophomore Skyler Carroll also had a good day, finishing 5-2 with four pins.

While most of the wrestlers had strong performances in the 260-wrestler tournament, O’Donnell was most impressed with his freshman Solano. Going into the tournament unseeded, Solano defeated the No. 1-seeded Parker Swanson 2-0 before losing 3-2 to Devestern, a retuning All-American.

“He had an outstanding day. He by far had one of the best days on the team as far as just being focused and progression the whole time,” O’Donnell said. “He beat some very quality kids in his first weekend out as a college competitor.”

After a successful week of wrestling, the Blue Hawks proved they can compete and win at all levels from senior to freshman. While O’Donnell expects his upperclassmen and returners to always perform strong, he is impressed with how quick some of his freshmen are adjusting from high school to college-level wrestling.

“It definitely is a good start,” he said. “Besides getting our feet wet and getting college reps for those freshmen and learn to transition and learn, we’re looking to score and not looking at the score. Just try to get that mentality across and constantly keeping pressure on guys and they started to do that. Sometimes the transition from high school to college is a tough transition.”

The Blue Hawks return home Wednesday for their first home dual of the season against Division II Moorehead State. Last season, DSU wasn’t fully prepared for the challenge and lost 33-9. This year the team is more mentally alert and focused on taking risks, playing with full-out aggression and carrying over its progression from this weekend.

“We can’t control them and we need to control ourselves,” O’Donnell said. “They know what they need to do now. It’s the process of getting their bodies to do that and I thought they made some pretty dang good strides today.”