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Waldorf’s Jenkins captures DWU Open title

By Matt Oliver

MITCHELL, S.D. – Keno Jenkins captured the 165-pound title to lead the Waldorf College men’s wrestling team in Saturday’s Dakota Wesleyan University Open.

Jenkins (8-0) kept his hot streak going, winning all five of his matches in the tournament.

“Keno looked great,” Waldorf coach Brad Stockton said. “There are some minor things he’s got to change a little bit to widen the gap in some of his matches and not letting them stay so close to get to where he wants to be with his goals.”

Jenkins started the day claiming a 3-1 decision over Grand View University’s Kenan Jackson and rolled past Hastings College’s Caleb Holt behind a 14-3 major decision. The junior from Ellenwood, Ga. continued strong, controlling Southwest Minnesota State University’s Kegen Fingalsen in a 15-4 major decision.

Jenkins advanced to the title bout, bringing down Grand View’s Beau Roberts in a 13-12 decision. He earned an 11-4 decision over Grand View’s Jacob Blackwell in the championship match.

Waldorf freshman Zach Milks (157) secured a 5-4 decision against Briar Cliff University’s Leland Slawson and topped Concordia University’s Clayton Hintz in a 7-1 decision. Milks (2-5) lost his final two matches by medical forfeit, but showed a solid approach before suffering an injury.

“He wrestled great and started off strong,” Stockton said. “He’s come a long way in the last couple of weeks of competing. It’s something to start building on.”

Freshman Kyle Penalosa (125) and sophomore Austin Roys (165) each won one of three matches for the Warriors.

Penalosa (1-5) received a first-round bye before falling in a 6-1 decision to Concordia College’s Jakob Stageberg, who’s ranked No. 5 in the NCAA Division III preseason poll. Penalosa earned a second-round consolation win via medical forfeit. Briar Cliff’s Isaiah Lysius claimed a 10-4 decision over Penalosa in the following round of the consolation bracket.

Stageberg went on to win the 125 crown. Penalosa displayed promising signs in both of his losses.

“He was in both matches,” Stockton said. “He showed great things. He’s still a freshman and has things to work on, but showed improvement every time he stepped onto the mat.”

Concordia College’s Parker Jackson earned a 15-0 technical fall over Roys (2-6) in the opening round. Roys responded, winning by fall over Dakota Wesleyan’s Zechariah Westergaard in 2 minutes, 6 seconds. Augustana College’s Mitchell Rechtzigel ended Roys’ day with a 16-5 major decision.

Waldorf senior Angel Gomez (285), juniors Dustin Samudio (149) and Nathan Guillermo (165) turned in 0-2 records in the tournament.

“A lot of the guys that competed had a bumpy road,” Stockton said. “It was a tough tournament.”

Following a first-round bye, Gomez (2-2) lost by fall to St. Olaf College’s Zachary Gibson in 4:06. Grand View’s Gabriel Rangel pinned Gomez in 37 seconds in an opening-round consolation bout.

Hastings’ Brian Messersmith scored a first-round fall in 1:31 over Samudio (0-3), who was pinned by Briar Cliff’s Jacob Spadoni in 4:39.

Briar Cliff’s Alex Melton won by fall over Guillermo (0-5) in 6:51. Southwest Minnesota State’s Nicholas Esping ended Guillermo’s day with a 17-5 major decision.

In a tournament with tough opponents from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), NCAA Division II and Division III ranks, Waldorf’s grapplers worked to hold their ground.

“Overall, I was pleased with our performances,” Stockton said. “We did really well.”

The Warriors are staying on track to reach their goals and are striving to close out the first half of the season on a high note.

“They’re showing great improvement every time they get out there,” Stockton said. “Some of those close matches that we’re losing, it’s time to turn the corner now that we’re nearing the end the first semester.”

Waldorf faces Midland University, Wayland Baptist, Lindenwood University-Belleville and the University of Jamestown in next Friday’s duals at Fremont, Nebraska. Midland is ranked No. 12 in the NAIA preseason poll and Wayland Baptist is No. 19. The Warriors hope to be at full strength when they return to competition.

“We’ve got some time off to heal up a bit,” Stockton said. “Friday is a big day for us. Midland and Wayland Baptist are tough up and down the lineup, so guys have to be ready to go.”