'From the Ground Up': Blue Hawks women's wrestling eyes inaugural season

The Dickinson State University women's wrestling program, led by former wrestler and assistant coach Tyson Springer, has received substantial support from alumni in North Dakota and Montana.

Dickinson State University wrestling facility.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

DICKINSON — The Dickinson State University Women's Wrestling Program is gearing up for its inaugural season and has received an outpouring of support from alumni across North Dakota and Montana. With former wrestler and assistant coach Tyson Springer at the helm, the program has already secured 14 committed wrestlers and is actively seeking to expand its arsenal.

DSU hit the ground running in January, welcoming back former wrestler and assistant coach Tyson Springer to be the first to lead the program; He made the first signing to the program a week later in Jacey Gorder, whose father Darick Gorder wrestled for DSU and was a NAIA All-American in 2000.

Springer, a 2005 national champion (165 lbs.), has stripes from both the mat and as a coach that have provided him a strong network that will greatly serve DSU to build a-one-of-a-kind women’s wrestling program. Since first leaving DSU, he has coached for four different programs, in three different states. The move back to Dickinson will come in the summer as he and his wife, McKenzie will have their children finish out the school semester — Springer gave great thanks to DSU in making the transition a smooth one.

“Big help from Coach Thadd O'Donnell and Pete Stanton and the men’s wrestling coaches at Dickinson State all of whom have been a huge help working with recruits we have had on campus so far,” Springer said. “That’s why we love DSU so much. Everyone will do anything to help each other out as we look to build this women’s program from the ground up.”

Since taking on the position, Springer has been in contact with numerous alumni and former wrestlers, offering possible recruits, insight and/or support to DSU athletics' historic leap.


A few of these former DSU wrestlers are Brenner Flaten, the Activities Director at Glasgow, Montana; Markie and Corey Johnston, coaches at Butte High School in Montana; Derrick Williams, coach at Hamilton High School in Montana; Sean Elkins, a Hettinger High School coach; Matt Meyer, a Dickinson High School girl’s wrestling coach.

Meyer and DHS head coach Jerry Stravia will be tremendous resources for the Blue Hawks to find local talents. They had four athletes compete at state in their inaugural season. Meyer, wrestled for DSU from 1996 - 99, was a three time All-American, and contributed to the DSU’s 1999-2000 hall of fame team's national fourth place finish.

Flaten, the Johnston brothers and Springer were all part of the DSU’s program in the early 2000’s. Corey Johnston was a 2008 All-American in 125 lbs weight class. And Elkins, who was a 2015 first team All-American, is a long-time friend of Springer.

“The best thing about being a blue hawk is the old saying ‘Once a Blue Hawk, always a Blue Hawk.’ And that’s been true since I accepted the coaching job here at DSU,” Springer said. “I’ve had so much support from guys like these and many others who have reached out and given me numbers or names of recruits or have just given support. It's been awesome.”

Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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