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COLLEGE WRESTLING: Warriors battle Bluejays

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Minnesota West Community and Technical College 174-pound wrestler James Sebea gets points on Ridgewater's Martin Hagen during Tuesday night's matchup in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota West's wrestling team surrendered a lot of weight on Tuesday night.

But the Bluejays refused to surrender many matches.

Just two Minnesota West wrestlers competed at their listed weights, and four opted to move up and wrestle heavier opponents.

The result: a 53-6 Ridgewater victory.

The reaction: positive, from Bluejays coach Bob Purcell.

"We had everybody bumped up," said Purcell, whose team has been plagued by injuries and illness this season. "It's a challenge for our kids. I gave them the choice, and they took the challenge. That's what it's all about. They went out there and knew they were giving up weight to good college wrestlers and they said, 'We're not forfeiting tonight, Coach. We're wrestling.'"

Ashton Griffon took the mat at his listed weight, but the freshman 125-pounder's stay was short. Griffon earned a forfeit victory, giving Minnesota West its first and only lead of the night.

Daniel Cordido, who normally wrestles at 125 pounds, moved up to 133 and was pinned by Ridgewater's Jake Patnode in 1:49.

Jamal McAllister, who normally wrestles at 133, moved up to 141 to face Ridgewater's Tyler Stemper, who racked up 12 near-fall points before earning a technical fall early in the second period.

Minnesota West's Jose Ayala, who normally competes at 133, moved up two weights to 149 and suffered a first-period fall.

Bryan Louis moved up from 149 to 157 and was pinned in the first period by his Ridgewater opponent.

After forfeiting at 165 pounds, the Bluejays sent their newest addition onto the mat.

James Sebea, who played running back on Minnesota West's football team in the fall, joined the wrestling team last week. While he's listed at 157 pounds, Sebea competed at 174 Tuesday night.

He also had more success than any Minnesota West grappler who took the mat.

Sebea recorded two takedowns and a three-point near-fall early in the first period, earning a 7-1 lead. But his inexperience in a college wrestling match eventually cost him.

Ridgewater's Martin Hagen earned an escape and followed by taking Sebea down at the edge of the circle.

Sebea hesitated, apparently thinking he and his opponent were out of bounds, and Hagen took advantage.

The Ridgewater freshman quickly put Sebea on his back and recorded a pin with 1:35 remaining in the first period.

"James just came into the room; he hasn't wrestled since high school," Purcell said. "And in high school, when he wrestled there, if you had one foot out, it was out of bounds. In college, if you just have one foot in, you're still inbounds."

Sebea's seven points were the most any Minnesota West wrestler recorded all night. Until his match, the Bluejays combined for just two points in four matches.

"He was doing a fantastic job for just coming out last week," Purcell said, referring to Sebea. "We were really happy with his performance tonight. He was having fun out there. He works out all the time; it was just a matter of getting wrestling lungs out there."

The Bluejays followed by forfeiting at both 184 and 197 pounds, and Jarek Bannister took the mat at his normal weight class -- heavyweight -- for the final match, which featured the only contest to enter the third period.

Bannister, a freshman, avoided near-falls in both the first and second periods and trailed 13-4 entering the third. But Cody Kinney recorded Ridgewater's fifth pin of the evening 1:53 into the final period.

"These kids gave it their heart," Purcell said. "We bumped everybody just to make sure they had a wrestling match. I love these kids' attitude."

Purcell hopes Tuesday's tough test will be beneficial for the Bluejays, who start postseason play next weekend.

Minnesota West (0-5, 0-3) will compete in the Briar Cliff Invitational on Saturday before beginning the North Central Tournament in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on Feb. 15.

125 Griffon (MW) forfeit, 6-0

133 Patnode (R) fall 1:49 Cordido, 6-6

141 Stemper (R) tech. fall 16-0 McAllister, 6-11

149 Krueger (R) fall 1:45 Ayala, 6-17

157 Tempel (R) fall 2:43 Louis, 6-23

165 Molacek (R) forfeit, 6-29

174 Hagen (R) fall 1:25 Sebea, 6-35

184 Christians (R) forfeit, 6-41

197 Arnt (R) forfeit, 6-47

Hwt. Kinney (R) fall 7:53 Bannister, 6-53