College wrestling: Worthington Open coming to Minnesota West
WORTHINGTON — A flood of wrestlers from throughout the region will hit the mats in Worthington Saturday for the 24th annual Worthington Open.
Six Minnesota West Community and Technical College wrestlers will participate; that’s not so unusual. More unusual is the fact that 13 or more teams will be represented, and approximately 85 wrestlers in all. That will include wrestlers from Minnesota State University-Mankato, Augustana College, Southwest Minnesota State University-Marshall, South Dakota State, Morningside College, Northwestern-Orange City, Northern State, Augsburg and St. Cloud State, and more.
The tournament is open to freshmen and sophomores and junior and senior non-starters.
“(Wrestlers) like it because there are not a lot of opportunities for guys who aren’t starters, or are redshirt freshmen, to wrestle at this time of year,” Minnesota West head coach Bob Purcell said Thursday.
Minnesota West wrestlers like it, too, because they’re able to show off their skills in front of coaches who operate at four-year schools, enhancing their opportunity for scholarships. Whereas the Bluejays ply their craft normally against other competitors from two-year schools, the Open gives them matches against older rivals.
Bluejays who will compete Saturday include Kareed Williams at 125 pounds, Mike Tanner at 141, Jared Nickman at 157, Ben Goodwin at 174, Zelius Morrow at 197 and Josh Valandra at heavyweight. Goodwin is ranked No. 1 at 174 among two-year colleges.
For local wrestling fans, the Open is a good way to see potential All-Americans and national champions while they’re still developing.
Matches are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Four mats will be in action throughout the day — two at the college and two more at the Worthington Area YMCA adjacent to the campus.