The Blue Hawks had a tougher night in their home opener against Montana State University-Northern, falling to the Lights 32-21.
Senior Jamie Mullins and sophomore Kyle Anderson helped Dickinson State (0-1 overall) in their two matches, pinning their opponents and putting solid points on the board. However, the rest of the success did not come as easy for Dickinson State.
“We knew going into tonight there was going to be some tough matchups,” head coach Justin Schlecht said. “It’s kind of a split night. I feel like the guys that did a great job of making adjustments got some wins, kept things close, wrestled above their ability and they realized some things … a few of those that hadn’t done such a good job at making those adjustments, that sucks. We need to capitalize on that.”
First-year Dante Venema started the night off with falling to a pin to Lights senior Rob Pair. Blue Hawks leader Gresh Jones, who is trying to become fully healthy, was unable to compete in the dual and was replaced by first-year Tristen Hicks who ultimately fell to junior Landon Bailey.
With the Blue Hawks in dire need of points, Mullins stepped up and got a solid pin victory over junior Brennon Veis, narrowing the gap 12-6. However, the Lights came back with another pin, this time on Jacob Berg. The Blue Hawks were able to take the 157 pounds dual, narrowing the gap 18-9.
After the 157-pounds battle, the Lights won the next two battles and took a 24-9 lead. In desperation Anderson stepped up for the Blue Hawks and took the victory with a pin over Lights’ first-year Cody Golding, narrowing the gap 29-15. Blue Hawks’ senior was awarded the pin victory due to having no one to compete against, giving Dickinson State a 29-21 deficit.
Despite the deficit being too much to come back from, Blue Hawks sophomore Zack Myers put everything he had into his match against Lights sophomore Jase Stokes, but narrowly lost the match, giving the Lights the 32-21 victory.
“Momentum is huge in duals and that’s what we’re missing in some of our younger guys,” Schlecht said. “Realizing that they can be in control of the momentum, and they can alter the momentum. That will come with time … I think our older guys are doing a good job making that adjustment, and now it’s just all about our younger guys buying into that as well.”
Despite the loss, the season will now officially be in full swing for the Blue Hawks as they now begin the main stretch for the season. However, it also means the time to heal and make adjustments have to be quicker and the practices become more important as the matches become more frequent, such as their next competition being on Saturday, Jan. 11, at Hastings College.
“Now it's a short time between competitions for the month of January,” Schlecht said. “You don’t get two, three, four weeks to get those adjustments, so that’s what we need to get better at doing … making transition from improvement to improvement, adjustment to adjustment in a short period of time.”