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College wrestling: Goodwin sets course for Augustana

BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE Minnesota West wrestler Ben Goodwin (center) signs to wrestle with Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. Wednesday. Alongside Ben are Minnesota West coach Bob Purcell (left) and Goodwin’s father, Jim.

WORTHINGTON — Ben Goodwin, after completing two years of wrestling excellence at Minnesota West Community and Technical College, signed Wednesday to continue his career at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The Bluejay sophomore from Lincoln, Neb., will compete under former Worthington High School state champion Jason Reitmeier.

Goodwin said he sees coaching similarities with Reitmeier and his coach at Minnesota West, Bob Purcell.

“He’s kind of rough. A rough-nosed kind of guy. He kind of pushes you a lot. That’s how Bob is, too. Somebody who’ll push you.”

Goodwin placed fourth this year at 174 pounds in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) North Central District meet and qualified for the national tournament for the second year in a row.

On Wednesday, Goodwin said at least five or six schools showed an interest in him. During the national tournament, Reitmeier sent Purcell an email saying Augustana needed a 174-pounder and he liked what he saw in Goodwin.

After visiting the Augustana campus a couple of weeks ago, Goodwin — who said he likes the smaller size of the campus, likes the coaches and likes the wrestling program — made his decision.

“Worthington’s been a good fit for him,” said Goodwin’s father, Jim. “He’s been away. He’s grown up a lot. And now is the time to move on.”

There is still some work to do, Ben said. He needs to be less stubborn in his tactics. He needs to continue working on his technique from the top and from the bottom. And he needs to work on “finishing matches strong,” he said Wednesday.

Goodwin’s decision for Augustana met with approval from Purcell, who said he has always appreciated Reitmeier as a person and as someone with “no hidden agendas” who is always “up-front and honest.”

What Reitmeier sees in Goodwin, Purcell said, is someone of strong character who will put in the extra work. “I think he sees someone who’s proven he can be a college wrestler,” he added.

For his part, Goodwin said he is glad to have started his college career in Worthington.

“I think the most important thing for me is just growing up a lot,” he explained, showing his appreciation for Purcell’s mentorship. “Not just only in wrestling. He’s taught me a lot — what to put first, and what to put less.”

Said Purcell about his prize pupil: “He didn’t have to come to a community college. He was qualified to go to a four-year school right off the bat. He’s able to get to a school like Augustana College because he went to a two-year college to get squared away first.”

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and six grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He self-publishes original fiction in his spare time. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" are being distributed through a national publisher.

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