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    DWU Wrestling: Tiger set to host qualifying tournament

    MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University wrestling team will be competing against the 11 other teams in the NAIA North Region Saturday to qualify as many individuals as possible for the NAIA National Tournament, but the Tigers have one advantage over those other schools. 

    The Tigers get home-mat advantage as they host the 2014 NAIA North Group Qualifier Saturday morning at the Christen Family Athletic Center on the DWU campus. Wrestlers from 12 schools within the Great Plains Athletic Conference and around the region will compete to qualify for the national championships, which run March 7-8 on Topeka, Kan. 

    Dakota Wesleyan enters the qualifying tournament tied for 19th in the latest national rankings, but the Tigers are fourth in the North Group poll. DWU received 95 points and is behind Morningside College (156), York College (133) and Dickinson State University (97). Those five, along with Concordia University, Midland University, Northwestern College, Hastings College, Briar Cliff University, the University of Jamestown, Waldorf College and Doane College make up the field for the 12-team tournament. Each team can enter up to 12 wrestlers. 

    Competing for the Tigers will be freshman Will Seydel (125), senior Richard Rios (133), juniors Kyle Gerlach and Dusty Paulsen at 149, redshirt senior Nick Hutcheson and senior Ryan Roach at 157, juniors Trever DeVestern (165) and Kyle Hoisington (174), seniors Tyler Sarringar (184), Shea Klooster (197) and Eric Gruis (285) and freshman Logan Tonak (285). 

    DWU enters the tournament with several individuals ranked in the region and the nation. Rios is 17-4 and is second in the North Group. Gerlach is third in the North Group at 149 pounds and Paulsen is sixth in the same weight class. DeVestern is second at 165 pounds and Jarrick Jensen is sixth, Sarringar is fourth at 184 and Gruis is sixth at 285. Rios is also ninth in the NAIA, Gerlach is 11th, DeVestern – who is 25-2 – is sixth, and Sarringar is 14th

    Morningside is the top-ranked team in the North Group at 10th in the NAIA. York is 11th and Dickinson State is tied for 16th. Midland is tied for 19th with the Tigers, and Northwestern, Concordia, Briar Cliff, Jamestown, Hastings and Waldorf are all receiving votes. 

    All matches at Saturday’s tournament will be seven minutes long with riding time. The tournament is double-elimination with team scores kept, and all weights will be wrestled out to sixth place. The top four finishers in each weight class qualify for the national tournament, and a select number of at-large qualifying berths will also be awarded. 

    Gruis, Sarringar, Hutcheson, Rios, Paulsen, DeVestern and Gerlach are all looking for return trips to the national tournament. Paulsen and DeVestern both took seventh and earned All-American honors last season.

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