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Scott Gymnasium a welcome sight for DSU wrestling

Of all the roadtrips Dickinson State wrestling has gone on this season, the one last weekend--a 14-hour bus ride to Marshall, Mo.--was perhaps the most trying.

Dickinson State's Jamie Mullins squares off with assistant coach Stan Schlecht Wednesday afternoon in the Wrestling Room at Scott Gymnasium. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson State's Jamie Mullins squares off with assistant coach Stan Schlecht Wednesday afternoon in the Wrestling Room at Scott Gymnasium. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)

Of all the roadtrips Dickinson State wrestling has gone on this season, the one last weekend-a 14-hour bus ride to Marshall, Mo.-was perhaps the most trying.

The best part about that journey, as far senior Sean Elkins is concerned, is that it's over and done with.

"We left Wednesday morning, what was it, 5 or 6?" he asked fellow senior Jon Solano, who confirmed a 5 a.m. departure. "We stopped in Concordia (Minn.), worked out at like 11 a.m., went to Subway, then got on the bus and went down to Council Bluffs, Iowa, then we got our workouts in, stayed the night, then ate breakfast there that morning, then hit the road again. Then, on Thursday, we finally got down to Missouri."

After all that, the Blue Hawks arrived in Marshall for the Missouri Valley Invite, and despite the harsh travels, showed well that Saturday, finishing the tournament in sixth place out of 32 teams. Elkins finished fifth at 157 pounds, while Solano and Seth Ehlang finished third at 184 and 149, respectively.

For DSU, though, which has so far traveled to South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana (twice), and Missouri last weekend, the road has been a familiar, almost routine part of the season.

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"We've lived off Cliff Bars and Subway. That's about it," Elkins said, laughing. "Cliff bars, Subway and continental breakfast."

For this weekend, at least, it'll be a nice change of pace and a much-needed break for the Blue Hawks' travel bags.

Starting with a matchup against NCAA Division III Concordia College at 7 p.m. today at Scott Gymnasium, the Blue Hawks begin a three-match homestand, continuing this Saturday in the Tyler Plummer Classic and wrapping up Tuesday against NCAA Division II Northern State.

It's the only string of home matches the entire rest of the year, and once they're done with Northern State, it's off to Sioux City, Iowa, on Saturday, Feb. 4.

So, for the seniors especially, it's a special little chunk of the schedule they have to be able to look forward too.

"I just know by the end of the trip when we came back on Sunday, I was ready to kill somebody. I just wanted to get off the bus and go home," Solano said. "What I'm excited about with being home is we don't have to have that bus ride on us, that stiffness. I'll try and look at (today) as another dual, but I'll look at it a little differently, just in that I'm home, so I better win and I better represent Dickinson State well."

Head coach Justin Schlecht expects a good challenge in No. 22 Division III Concordia, and more of the same from Northern on Tuesday.

Saturday's tournament-named after Tyler Plummer, a DSU graduate, longtime wrestling fan and contributor to the Blue Hawk program who passed away in 2012-will be no Missouri Valley Invite in terms of size, but a nice, little tournament nonetheless.

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Great Falls, Jamestown and Montana-Northern are all expected among the competition.

"No big huge brackets at any weight, but there definitely will be some very competitive brackets. No slouches from right out of the gate," Schlecht said. "We get a lot of other schools that will come and bring five, 10 guys here and there. Obviously, we'll have all of our guys in it. Again, not a huge tournament, but it's a strong one."

As far as predictions go for this weekend and beyond, Schlecht assured it was too early to put a mark on this season.

Right around the halfway mark of the year, he's been encouraged by some team aspects and concerned by others.

One thing's for certain, though; for this weekend only, there are no side effects of a 14-hour slogs to worry about.

"We've been road warriors here for the last couple of weeks-definitely nice to not be on a bus, sleeping in our beds," he said. "It's always exciting to wrestle at home in front of the student body and in front of the campus. The local fans, the families. That's always exciting. Everyone gets ready for that kind of stuff."

Related Topics: BLUE HAWKS
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