Dickinson State Blue Hawks wrestler Seth Ehlang earning disciplined reputation
Though he appears quiet in his demeanor, Seth Ehlang let out a big smile when he heard how much his team and coach respects his work ethic. Dickinson State wrestling teammate Pat Tangen said he seeks out Ehlang for drills and in practice because ...
Though he appears quiet in his demeanor, Seth Ehlang let out a big smile when he heard how much his team and coach respects his work ethic.
Dickinson State wrestling teammate Pat Tangen said he seeks out Ehlang for drills and in practice because he wants a challenge that will make him better.
Blue Hawks head coach Justin Schlecht said Ehlang is on the cusp of being an NAIA all-American.
To Ehlang, he’s just trying to enjoy the ride.
Ehlang, a 149-pound junior ranked No. 9 in NAIA, will help the No. 16 Blue Hawks take on NCAA Division II Minot State at 7 p.m. today at Scott Gymnasium.
Ehlang said he’s stressed the end result too much in his first two years, which held back his performance. This season, he’s laid back - and excelling.
“I know this is kind of backwards, but now I’m just kind of focused on enjoying it now,” Ehlang said. “Obviously, I want to become an all-American, two times would be great, but now I’m just wanting to compete. You don’t cut (weight) every week because you hate it. You’ve got to love it.”
In duals, Ehlang, a Billings, Mont., native, earned a sudden-victory takedown of Concordia College’s Ben Baumgartner, a 15-4 major decision over University of Jamestown’s Brandon Aragon and a pin on Great Falls’ Travis Vermulm.
In fact, his only loss in a dual was to No. 2 Montana State-Northern’s Drake Randall, who is ranked No. 11.
“He’s not one to go out there to get a win just to get a win. He’s out there to challenge the toughest and best kid out there,” Schlecht said. “That’s what Seth wants to do is compete with the best. He’s not about to dodge around and get an easy win. He wants to wrestle the best kid on the opponent's team.”
To go along with his championship performance at the Tyler Plummer Classic hosted by DSU, Ehlang has also registered a runner-up showing at the Briar Cliff Open, and was third at the Hastings Open, fourth at the Missouri Valley Invite and had a top-10 finish at the Midlands Open.
Ehlang’s performance late into tournaments is exactly what Schlecht wants to see in the postseason.
“When he’s in match No. 5 of the day, that’s probably when he’s at his best,” Schlecht said. “Those guys that he’s wrestling … they’re in match No. 3 or 4, same as him, and he’s probably just hitting his stride, and they’re just starting to run out of juice. He’s a very well-conditioned athlete.”
Tangen, who often partners up with Ehlang in practices, said Ehlang is good with positioning, his quickness and fundamentals and - maybe most importantly - he’s tough to take down. Tangen said wrestlers have to be well rounded with explosiveness and strength in middle weights.
So Ehlang fits the bill.
“Every weight is different, but 149 is the point where strength and speed are both still there, so you have guys who are strong and fast,” Ehlang said. “It’s a challenge to wrestle some of those guys.”
Ever since he came into the middle classes, Ehlang has been up against some of the toughest competition in the country, Schlecht said.
But that didn’t stop Ehlang from qualifying for the NAIA national tournament twice in his first two years.
“You could see that he came in with an attitude ready to rock and roll,” Tangen said. “He was working hard right away as a freshman, that’s one thing I remember about him. He came in and just started firing right away.
“This year, I see that same attitude, but I think he’s ready to take the next step and get where he wants to come nationals and regionals time.”
Schlecht said that Ehlang doesn’t just win on natural talent but is disciplined in the training room, in his diet, in the classroom and in his workouts. That, Schlecht said, leads to Ehlang’s discipline in competition.
“You have to have that kind of mindset that you believe you put in the time to be better,” Schlecht said. “Seth definitely has put in the time and his training and all of that work. There’s no reason for him to think he can’t win a match.”
Ehlang, a biology major and chemistry minor who’s made the Dean’s List with a 3.8 GPA and is in DSU’s honor program, said coming to DSU was an easy decision with the major he wanted and a team he wanted to be a part of.
“The wrestling team was pretty close knit,” Ehlang said. “These guys are a pretty good group of guys.”
Ehlang said he’s trying to do his best to avoid the stress of being a student-athlete, especially considering his workload is increasing the further he gets into his major while also being expected to keep weight as a starter.
But Ehlang hasn’t stepped down thus far.
“I think this year I’m trying to focus more on having fun and just get out and wrestle for 7 minutes,” Ehlang said. “I’m not worrying so much about the stage and where we’re at. I’m just going to wrestle and have fun.”