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Red Raiders top Warriors

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Matt Oliver

ORANGE CITY – The Waldorf College men’s wrestling team received wins from Kyle Penalosa and Zach Milks in a 41-7 loss to Northwestern College during Thursday’s dual meet.

Two technical falls and a fall propelled the Red Raiders (8-5), who are receiving votes in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll. Northwestern won five matches on the night and was also aided by three forfeits.

“When they stepped on the mat, win or lose, they were ready to go,” Waldorf coach Brad Stockton said.

Penalosa (125 pounds) put together a stellar performance, earning a 15-4 major decision over Sam Klarenbeek.

“He started the match strong and just kept going,” Stockton said. “That’s something he’s starting to figure out.”

Whether Penalosa (5-14) was on the attack or holding his ground, the freshman from Las Vegas showed signs that he’s beginning to find his groove in his first collegiate season.

“He started off really well, got in deep on some shots and was really confident,” Stockton said. “He wrestled out of some positions that earlier in the year he wasn’t doing.”

It’s a promising end to the regular season for Penalosa, who like his teammates is setting his sights on a strong performance in next Saturday’s NAIA Central National Qualifier.

“He’s going to have to wrestle every match like that next weekend at the regional tournament,” Stockton said. “It was definitely a nice match to end the season with and to build on heading into the postseason.”

Milks (157), a freshman from Charles City who was last weekend’s Sioux City Open champion, found himself in tightly-contested bout. It was a grind to the finish, but Milks (11-11) pulled out a 5-4 decision over Northwestern’s Carter Behler.

“He still found a way to win and come out on top,” Stockton said.

Waldorf senior Dirk McOmber (197) fell short as he lost an 11-10 decision to Tyree Cox, who’s ranked No. 10 at 184 in the NAIA poll.

McOmber (8-6) held a 7-2 lead at the end of the first period. Cox wouldn’t go away and secured the win with a takedown in the closing seconds of the match.

“Whether you’re up one point or 12 points in a match, you have to wrestle all seven minutes,” Stockton said. “You’ve got to be a little more cautious. You don’t have to do anything risky, but you still have to wrestle, attack and work to score points to widen the gap.”

Senior Ryan Dugger (285) bumped up a weight class for the Warriors (2-7). Dugger (1-9) gave up approximately 16 pounds in a loss to Northwestern’s Derek Jaurigue, who notched an 8-0 major decision.

Waldorf senior Dario Gamino (149) and sophomore Austin Roys (165) were defeated in technical falls.

Elijah Dahl put together a 16-0 technical fall to bring down Gamino (2-9). Brandon Shuler bested Roys (3-12) behind a 22-4 technical fall.

Northwestern’s Jacob Hergott (133) pinned sophomore Jacob Adams (2-12) in 5 minutes, 34 seconds.

The Warriors surrendered 18 points with forfeits at 141, 174 and 184. Dropping the dual to the Red Raiders wasn’t the way Waldorf envisioned ending the regular season.

“I understand not every night is going to be everybody’s top night,” Stockton said. “Sometimes, you just have to find a way to win and gut it out.”

The Warriors now shift their focus to next Saturday’s NAIA Central National Qualifier at Marshall, Missouri. Several members of the team will make their postseason debuts while it’ll be the final trips to regionals for Gamino, Dugger and McOmber.

“Either way, when you step on the mat you have to be ready to go and full of confidence,” Stockton said. “Upsets happen throughout the whole year, but more so when it’s the regional tournament or national tournament. Some kids peak at the right time. That’s why you’ve got to be ready to wrestle for seven minutes against anybody.”

Regional realignments moved Waldorf into the NAIA Central National Qualifier after previously competing in the North region. The Central region features four-time defending national champion and top-ranked Grand View University, along with No. 2 Missouri Valley College. No matter who the Warriors square off against, they know they’ll have to bring their best to achieve postseason success.

“A lot of things can happen in a seven-minute match,” Stockton said. “It takes one slip-up or one move to end a match or change the direction of it. It all comes down to being ready to go.”