College wrestling: Bluejays make strides on mat
WORTHINGTON —Minnesota West’s wrestling team took steps in the right direction, as they hosted Iowa Lakes Community College in their home opener Wednesday at the Center for Health and Wellness in Worthington.
But the Bluejays surrendered too many weight classes, wrestling only six matches on the night.
Iowa Lakes defeated Minnesota West 45-10.
“I really enjoyed our wins on the night,” Minnesota West wrestling coach Bob Purcell said. “I thought we would have done better with a couple of the matches we got pinned in.”
West freshman Kareed Williams began the night for the Bluejays at 125 pounds. He earned a pair of takedowns early to post a 4-0 lead in the second period. He was dominant from there, eventually moving to a 9-1 major decision over Iowa Lakes’ Ashes Dean.
A freshman from St. Paul Johnson, Williams reached the state tournament as a senior in high school. While he was fairly dominant Wednesday night, it was only his first collegiate match. Lots of work is still to be done.
“My ambition is to get better and get to my full potential,” Williams said. “It was a good match tonight, but I could have gotten more takedowns when I needed them. I just need to hit the practice room and get even better. I think I could maybe put on some more muscle, and that would make it a little easier.”
Leading in the tilt 12-4, Iowa Lakes pushed its lead with pins at 133 pounds and 149 pounds. Alfredo Rodriguez pinned Matthew Henning at 2:44, followed by Matthew Tanner being pinned by Miguel Calixto at 5:48. The Bluejays were open at 141 pounds, giving the Lakers a 21-4 lead going into the 174-pound bout.
In that meeting, West sophomore Ben Goodwin, from Lincoln Pius X, earned a pin at 2:32 over Iowa Lakes’ Brandon Sorenson to round out his team’s scoring.
Knotted at 2-2 in the first period, Goodwin earned a takedown and the pin to post his fourth win of the year. Goodwin was a two-time medalist at the Nebraska state wrestling tournament and qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association’s national meet last year in Des Moines.
“I was pumped up and came in and dominated. My goal all year is to dominate,” Goodwin said. “Wrestling is mental. I just have it in my head this year that nobody can stop me. My goal this year is to not get taken down.”
West’s dual with the Lakers was its first dual in about five years on campus. A strong contingent of fans followed the team for its opener, and that was exciting, Goodwin said. Also recently updated was the team’s practice room.
“We have our new facility and I’ve been excited since the beginning of the year. We got our practice room last year. It is all-around an exciting experience,” Goodwin said. “We had great fans and I was pumped up.”
The Bluejays will compete Saturday at the Dakota Wesleyan Open. They host Ellsworth Community College next Thursday.
“We were close at 157 but gave up that takedown at the end when we went for a pinning combination rather than just sending it to overtime,” Purcell said. “It is early in the season and we will learn from that sort of thing. The kids gave me the effort. I liked the effort.”