ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

College wrestling: Open season at Minnesota West

WORTHINGTON -- Another Worthington Open wrestling tournament will get under way at Minnesota West Community and Technical College on Saturday, and Bluejays head coach Bob Purcell is quick to advertise its operation as well as its high-quality action.

 

WORTHINGTON - Another Worthington Open wrestling tournament will get under way at Minnesota West Community and Technical College on Saturday, and Bluejays head coach Bob Purcell is quick to advertise its operation as well as its high-quality action.
Local people have been volunteering for the tournament for as long as it has been here - 26 years in 2016.
“We have the best table workers. We have the best-run tournament around,” said Purcell.
The Worthington Open is unique for many other reasons. It provides a venue for college wrestlers that come from all over the Midwest. It features a variety of programs, a variety of divisions, and it’s a great opportunity for individual wrestlers to impress coaches for the next level of competition. Any college freshman or sophomore starter or non-starter is eligible along with any non-starter from any four-year school including juniors and seniors.
On Saturday, approximately 160 wrestlers will converge in Worthington to compete at Minnesota West’s Center for Health and Wellness and also the adjacent Worthington Area YMCA gymnasium.
The Open is as popular as ever, with some colleges and universities sending notably more wrestlers to Worthington in 2016 than they have in recent years. The University of Minnesota, for instance, usually registers eight to 12 participants, but by mid-week there were 21 expected from the U of M. South Dakota State University is also up in numbers, with 17 expected this year. Morningside College, Minnesota State University-Mankato, Southwest Minnesota State University-Marshall and Iowa Lakes Community College are just some of the regional schools sending wrestlers. There’s even one coming from Tennessee.
The tournament begins at 9 a.m. and continues through late Saturday afternoon.
Minnesota West, which has struggled with injuries throughout the 2015-16 season, will have just two wrestlers competing on Saturday. Freshman Lamont Cannon will compete at 141 pounds and sophomore Jared Nickman will compete at 157.
Cannon has been hampered somewhat this year in tournaments from what Purcell calls “first-round blues.” On more than one occasion, he’s gotten upset in the first round of events before fighting back to earn a place.
But Cannon is a naturally-gifted athlete and wrestles with a lot of heart. If he can avoid overconfidence in his early matches, Purcell said, he could go far.
Nickman continues to fight his way to optimum performance after missing large chunks of his previous two seasons due to injury. Purcell says he’s not yet back to where he can be, but with more mat time and more consistency he can still find his groove.
“They have the talent to place in the top four. But you know our tournament, how tough it is. And this year it’s going to be a very tough tournament,” Purcell said this week.

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
What To Read Next
Monday high school sports roundup:
Luverne is seeded No. 1 in the upcoming Section 3A girls high school hockey tournament and Worthington is seeded sixth.
The Worthington Trojans boys basketball team played exceptional defense against Canistota, surrendering a mere 11 points in the first half.
Outstanding outside shooting helped the Eagles beat Worthington in Worthington, 82-68