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Dickinson State Blue Hawks beat in-state rival Minot State on senior night

In his last-ever home dual, Taylor Hodel couldn't help but look back on the past 17 years of his life spent wrestling and the people who have helped him along the way.

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Dickinson State senior Taylor Hodel, right, tries to find better position against Minot State’s Carlos Toledano in their 165-pound match Wednesday at Scott Gymnasium. Hodel went on to pin Toledano. (Colton Pool/The Dickinson Press)

In his last-ever home dual, Taylor Hodel couldn’t help but look back on the past 17 years of his life spent wrestling and the people who have helped him along the way.

He wrestled his final match in front of a home crowd the way he wanted to.

Hodel, a Dickinson State senior, came back from an early deficit and picked up a pin over Carlos Toledano in their 165-pound match to propel the No. 15-ranked Blue Hawks to a 29-22 win over NCAA Division II in-state rival Minot State on Wednesday night at Scott Gymnasium during DSU’s senior night.

“It’s not just you you’re out there wrestling for anymore, it’s everybody that’s gotten you to where you’re at,” said Hodel, who is the No. 4-ranked wrestler at his weight in the NAIA. “It was just a nice feeling to know I could finish one on top and finish it out for the team hopefully give a good example for the team to look back on.”

After Toledano had taken a 4-3 lead, Hodel, who was named NAIA national wrestler of the week, started in the up position to begin the second period of the match. Hodel escaped and -- in nearly a blink of an eye -- Hodel turned the tables, scoring a near fall and coming close to a pin.

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Later in the period, Hodel got another takedown. This time, he took advantage and secured the pin.

Hodel’s family came all the way from California to see the senior in his last home dual - the first time in his career - so he was nervous and excited at the same time.

But he was impressed with how he came back.

“It was a little bit of nerves. My feet were a little stuck in the mat,” Hodel said. “But once things got things going and I got my blood flowing, I felt pretty good. I could tell he was gassing a little bit and I just needed to pick things up.”

The Blue Hawks started with a 12-0 lead after forfeits at 125 and 133 pounds that senior No. 16-ranked Deshun Haynes and sophomore AJ Locke, respectively, took credit for winning.

But MSU quickly erased that early lead with a Tanner Crissler 12-4 major decision win over DSU freshman Jacob Berg and Cody Haugen’s 7-2 decision win over No. 11-ranked Blue Hawks junior Seth Ehlang.

“Especially when you’re giving up two forfeits, you have to stay off your back,” Beavers head coach Evan Forde said. “That kind of was the difference I thought tonight. But I was happy with the way we wrestled.”

In DSU freshman Cody Johnson’s match at 174 pounds, he and Mason Courtright exchanged takedowns, escapes and reversals. However, with a 10-6 lead, Courtright found a way to get the position for a pin to give the Beavers a 19-18 lead.

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“We lost a couple battle matches that we would like to have back,” DSU head coach Justin Schlecht said. “We definitely need to get better at not giving up those bonus points in those situations. But in some of those end matches, we realized we needed to get it together.”

No. 7-ranked Jon Solano turned the tide back in favor of DSU at 184 pounds with a pin in the second period over MSU’s Briley Crissler.

DSU junior Hudson Buck, who’s been battling from injuries all season, dominated Hunter Hart at 197 pounds and earned a technical fall with a 15-0 shutout in the second period.

“I just needed to come back and show the team and everyone that I’m still in it - my heart is still in it and I’m ready to go,” said Buck, who was an NAIA national semifinalist last season. “I wanted to battle back, and that was my plan.”

In the heavyweight bout, MSU’s Mitchell Eull took control of the match and beat senior Trevor Conrad with a 5-0 decision, but it was already too late for the Beavers.

“There’s definitely that benefit of having wins against in-state rivals,” Schlecht said. “It feels good to get those in state matches. It’s also nice whether it’s here or there, because it’s easy on our travel. It’s always nice to wrestle those in-state guys and coaches that we know.”

DSU has its last dual of the season against Northern State on Saturday, then will look to the national qualifying tournament next week.

Hodel feels like he’s ready to finish out his DSU career on a high note.

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“If you fall behind like you did early in that match, if you get too focused on winning and losing and not just enjoying yourself, then you kind of just start getting down on yourself,” Hodel said. “I may not be an all-American, I may not be a national champ, but I’m going to train like I want to be, and I’m just going try and enjoy myself on the way there.”

125: Deshun Haynes, DSU, forfeit

133: AJ Locke, DSU, forfeit

141: Tanner Crissler, MSU, maj. dec. Jacob Berg, 15-2

149: Cody Haugen, MSU, dec. Seth Ehlang, 7-2

157: Marcus Polak, MSU, fall Pat Tangen, 2:04

165: Taylor Hodel, DSU, fall Carlos Toledano, 4:00

174: Mason Courtright, MSU, fall Cody Johnson, 5:00

184: Jon Solano, DSU, fall Briley Crissler, 5:00

197: Hudson Buck, DSU, tech. fall Hunter Hart

HWT: Mitchell Eull, MSU, dec. Trevor Conrad, 5-0

Related Topics: BLUE HAWKS
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