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College wrestling: Former Adrian standout Preuss wins big match for Minnesota West

BY AARON HAGEN

The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- Before taking the mat Tuesday, Michael Preuss asked his coach a question.

“Do you want six points?”

A sophomore on the Minnesota West wrestling team, Preuss saw his team was down by six points entering his 184-pound match and asked head coach Bryan Cowdin if he wanted a pin to tie the dual. Of course, Cowdin said yes.

Preuss, who recently joined the West wrestling team, made good on his question and pinned his Itasca opponent in 21 seconds.

“I told them I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it a whole match,” Preuss said. “I told them even before I went out there today, I said, ‘There’s no way I’m going to get through a whole match.’ So I went out there and I asked him if he wanted six points to make the dual tied. He said yep, so I went out there and did what I could do.”

The Bluejays fell in both duals Tuesday, 46-6 against Iowa Lakes and 31-30 against Itasca. The Lakers defeated the Vikings 33-18 in the other match of the night.

Against the Lakers, MW’s only victory came with a forfeit. But for Cowdin, just hosting a match -- the first in a couple years -- made the night special.

“Obviously just to be here is big,” Cowdin said. “That’s a tough team out there. No excuses. They are a top five team in the nation.”

Against Itasca, the teams were locked at 30-all after the final match. Using the final criteria -- the first takedown -- the Vikings earned the victory.

“We wrestled pretty good, but we have a long ways to go,” Cowdin said. “Our conditioning is not there. We need more mat time. Otherwise, it was a pretty good effort.”

Every match with Itasca ended in either a fall or a forfeit, with Preuss’ fall the quickest.

With the Bluejays trailing 24-18, Preuss made his move quick and tied the dual.

And while he had virtually no practice time, he’s no stranger to the mat. He was a standout at Adrian High School, finishing fourth at the state meet as a senior in 2016.

“I wrestled in high school and a lot of people talked to me and asked me if I was going to wrestle. I wasn’t going to. I just decided I was going to do it and see how it turns out,” he said. “It’s an experience. I wrestled last year a couple of matches in the college. Then I was debating on staying out and I decided not to and focus on baseball. This year, coming out I said I wanted to go out there and see how it turned out, there was no pressure on me, so I wanted to go out there and wrestle and see how I could do.”

Now, with a victory under his belt already this year, the sky's the limit for the sophomore.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement,” he said. “I know after my first match after the first period, I didn’t even do that much and I was already gassed. I just have to start getting in the wrestling room, running around, getting into condition and hopefully do pretty well and hopefully the rest of the team can look after that. I’m going to try to be a leader and hope they’ll follow my footsteps and lead them to rack up some good wins on the year.”

The Bluejays had some close matches against Iowa Lakes, including at 133 pounds where Hser Moo Pwae was in a tight battle at 133 pounds against Lamon Wilson. However, Wilson used a pair of second-period takedowns en route to a 14-8 victory.

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