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Gomez, Jenkins lead Waldorf in Mike Olson Duals

By Matt Oliver

FAYETTE – Facing a pair of NCAA Division II opponents in Thursday’s 2nd Annual Mike Olson Duals presented the Waldorf College men’s wrestling team with tough tests in the first two matchups of the season.

Truman State University (1-1) scored a 41-5 win over the Warriors (0-2) in the opener. Upper Iowa University (2-0) notched a 41-6 win over Waldorf in the second dual.

The Warriors went to battle shorthanded and surrendering three forfeits created an uphill climb in each of the duals.

“Giving up 18 points right off the bat isn’t a solid start,” Waldorf coach Brad Stockton said. “There are certain things the whole team needs to work on.”

Angel Gomez (285 pounds) and Keno Jenkins (165) started their seasons off with 2-0 records, coming out on top in both duals.

“They’re a couple of leaders on the team,” Stockton said.

Gomez (2-0) enters the year seeking a third straight trip to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Championships. The fifth-year senior from Las Vegas held on for a 2-1 decision over Truman State’s Austin Dovin and claimed a 6-2 decision against Upper Iowa’s Avery Jacobs.

“Angel did exceptional,” Stockton said. “With him, we’re just going to take it slow and work through the season little by little.”

Jenkins (2-0) controlled Truman State’s Steven Serbinsksi in an 11-4 decision and the junior from Ellenwood, Ga. continued strong with a 13-6 decision over Upper Iowa’s Douglas Perrin.

“He wrestled really well,” Stockton said. “There are still a few things to work on on both ends.”

Waldorf freshman Zach Milks (157) fell short in two hard-fought matches, losing a 7-4 decision to Truman State’s Roark Whittington and a 6-2 decision to Upper Iowa’s Cody Nelson. Milks (0-2) transferred from Luther College and the Charles City native made his collegiate debut.

“He went out and he fought and in his second match, he showed a lot more improvement from the first,” Stockton said.

Freshman Kyle Penalosa (125) was topped by Truman State’s Jeremy Dorrell in an 8-4 decision. Penalosa (0-2) lost a 10-4 decision to Upper Iowa’s Garrett Wangsness, but showed a stronger fight that he can build on in the second bout.

“In the second match, if he would’ve started the match the way he finished, it would’ve been a whole different story,” Stockton said. “Late in the third period, I think he realized what he’s capable of.”

Truman State’s Rafael Lopez brought down junior Major Heggs (141) in an 18-2 technical fall in 4 minutes, 51 seconds. Heggs (0-2) lost by fall to Upper Iowa’s Hunter Slifka in 2:10.

“I talked to him about positioning and working where he’s strong,” Stockton said.

Senior Ryan Dugger (197) was pinned by Truman State’s Luke Bornhop in 5:44. He also lost by fall to Upper Iowa’s Maurice Wilborn in 2:16. Dugger was winning his first match until he was pinned to his back in the third period.

“He wrestled hard throughout everything,” Stockton said.

Upper Iowa’s Colbey Vance put together a 16-1 technical fall in three minutes over sophomore Austin Roys (174). It was a challenge accepted by Roys (1-4), who wrestled up two weight classes.

“I think that was a real eye-opener for him,” Stockton said. “He still looked good and fought through the matches.”

Waldorf senior D’Monte Aursby (174) lost by disqualification in his bout against Truman State’s Dustin McClintock. Aursby (0-1) is a returning national qualifier for the Warriors. Waldorf forfeited at 133, 149 and 184.

Penalosa, Milks and Jenkins are among a select group of grapplers who will compete for the Warriors in Saturday’s Grand View Open, which begins at 9 a.m. at Pleasant Hill. The tournament features competition from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) all the way to the NCAA Division I ranks.

“It’s a great tournament for them,” Stockton said. “It’s a building block in a sense and there’s a lot of great NAIA, junior college and Division I teams there as well.”

Waldorf will hit the mat hard in practice in preparation for Tuesday’s 7 p.m. dual meet against William Penn University (0-0) at Oskaloosa. The Statesmen are receiving votes in the NAIA preseason poll.