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Waldorf’s Milks wins Sioux City Open championship

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Matt Oliver

SIOUX CITY – Zach Milks captured the 157-pound championship to provide the top performance for the Waldorf College men’s wrestling team during Saturday’s Sioux City Open.

Milks (10-11) won all three of his matches in the tournament. The freshman from Charles City received a first-round bye and started the day by notching a 5-1 decision over Morningside College’s Drake Swedlund in a quarterfinal bout.

Milks turned it on in the semifinals, taking care of business against Briar Cliff University’s Thomas Falk in a 13-5 major decision.

“He did really well,” Waldorf coach Brad Stockton said. “He stayed in good position and had some really good offense.”

Coming out of the gates in the title match, Milks was taken down by Grand View University’s Mason Miller. Milks quickly settled in and willed his way to a 9-4 decision.

“He stayed in good position, got his hips under him, came back to his feet and continued to wrestle a really tough match,” Stockton said. “It was good to see him go back to what he knows and work from there. It paid off really well for him.”

Dirk McOmber (197 pounds) claimed third for the Warriors, putting together a 3-1 record. The senior from Tucson, Ariz. earned a first-round bye and won a 6-1 decision over Briar Cliff’s Jordan Watkins in the quarterfinals.

McOmber (8-5) was edged in his semifinal bout as Augustana College’s Lane Lettau pulled out a 7-4 decision.

“I think he had the ability to win his match in the semis,” Stockton said. “He had really good offense, but came up short.”

Rebounding in the consolation semifinals, McOmber picked up a 3-2 decision over the University of Jamestown’s Will Parks. The win set the stage for a third-place rematch against Watkins and McOmber prevailed with a 4-2 decision.

“The kid was just really strong and frustrating to wrestle,” Stockton said. “Dirk got into playing his game more than focusing on what he’s good at. When he decided to be offensive, things opened up. It was nice to see him battle through it and come out with third place.”

Waldorf sophomore Jacob Adams (133) won one of three matches on the day. He received a first-round bye and lost a 13-2 major decision to Dickinson State University’s Anthony Locke in a quarterfinal bout.

Adams (2-11) responded strong, securing a fall over Dickinson State’s Michael Pajaro in 4 minutes, 49 seconds during a second-round consolation battle.

“It was a tight match before that, but he just stayed calm and came out on top,” Stockton said.

Adams saw his day end at the hands of Northwestern College’s Preston Hoebelheinrich, who pinned down a victory in 4:12. He’ll get a second crack at Hoebelheinrich next week when the Warriors go on the road to face the Red Raiders in a dual meet.

“That’s a matchup we have to break down and see where we can open things up to score points,” Stockton said.

Waldorf freshman Kyle Penalosa (125), junior Dustin Samudio (149), senior Dario Gamino (149), sophomore Austin Roys (165) and senior Ryan Dugger (197) each turned in 0-2 tournament records.

Penalosa (4-14) fought hard in the opening round while falling in a 5-3 decision to Dickinson State’s Deshun Hayes, who’s ranked No. 9 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll.

“He wrestled a great first-round match,” Stockton said. “He looked really good.”

Following a first-round consolation bye, Penalosa was defeated by Dickinson State’s Brice Gorsline in a 16-3 major decision. Gorsline, a junior, had to rely on his veteran experience to pull away.

“It was a really close match until the third period,” Stockton said. “It just shows how close he is. He’s still got a long career ahead of him. He just has to learn from all the matches and positions and stick with what works for him.”

Samudio (1-8) was hit with two losses due to injury default. The injury occurred in an opening-round bout against Northwestern’s Elijah Dahl.

“He was looking really well, got into a position and did something to his knee,” Stockton said.

Samudio, who would’ve squared off against Augustana’s Blake Jans in a first-round consolation match, will have the injury reevaluated on Monday.

Gamino (2-8) lost by fall to Briar Cliff’s Zac Funderburk in 2:05 during his first match and was pinned by Morningside’s Robert Shirley in 4:03.

Roys (3-11) came off a first-round bye and dropped a 9-2 decision to Morningside’s Trevor Wheelock. Following a second-round consolation bye, Roys lost by fall to Wayne State College’s Caleb Thomas.

Dugger (1-8) received an opening-round bye and was pinned by Grand View’s Grant Harrill in 2:50. Parks topped Dugger in a second-round consolation match, recording a fall in 2:53.

Waldorf (2-6) returns to action on Thursday against Northwestern (7-5) in a 6 p.m. dual meet at Orange City. The Warriors will be shorthanded against the Red Raiders, who are receiving votes in the NAIA poll.

“We’re going to be down some weight classes with injuries,” Stockton said. “If everybody goes and wrestles seven minutes, it could be a really great dual.”

The dual meet marks the final competition for Waldorf before the NAIA Central National Qualifier, which is scheduled for Feb. 20 at Marshall, Missouri. With the regular season winding to a close, the Warriors are preparing to make a postseason push.

“There are things to work on before the dual and the regional tournament,” Stockton said. “We’ll start looking forward to Thursday and working on a few things, so we can gear up for the regional tournament.”