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MCAC Duals are at Minnesota West this weekend

Five MCAC wrestling schools go head-to-head on Saturday at Minnesota West Community and Technical College. And on Jan. 21, West hosts the annual Worthington Open tournament.

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WORTHINGTON -- Barring technical falls and pins, a college wrestling match lasts seven minutes -- a full minute more than high school. All college wrestlers are elite. They wouldn’t be wrestling in college if they weren’t.

There’s an added bit of intrigue in a college wrestling match. In high school pure strength and conditioning often spells the difference between winning and losing. But in the college ranks, the importance of technique becomes exponentially higher. It’s like chess is to checkers.

Over the next two weekends, local wrestling fans will be able to get their fill of college mat competition in Worthington. Minnesota West Community and Technical College will host the MCAC Duals on Saturday (Jan. 13). And next Saturday, Jan. 21, the school’s annual Worthington Open wrestling tournament comes to town.

Four Minnesota College Athletic Conference teams -- Rochester, Itasca, Ridgewater and Northland -- will join Minnesota West today in a dual meet format beginning at 11 a.m. Minnesota West head coach Randy Baker says Rochester and Itasca bring full teams to the competition, and Ridgewater is mostly full. The Bluejays expect to carry five wrestlers.

Jays Joe Kallevig (157 pounds) and Nathaniel Dolezel (197) won by fall Tuesday night in Worthington against North Iowa Area Community College. Other West wrestlers competing today are Matthew Harris (133), Deante Porter (174) and Brandon Montgomery (HWT).

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“This will help determine our seeds for the north districts,” said Baker, who expects Rochester -- which wrestled Itasca in last year’s MCAC Duals finals -- to be especially deep and talented.

Though the Bluejays don’t have the numbers Baker would prefer for them to have, the wrestlers in camp are doing well in practice and showing up at meets, too.

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“These guys are working hard, they’re athletic. And the biggest thing tonight, they worked hard. They fought,” Baker said about the NIACC matchup.

Next weekend’s Worthington Open is another animal, and a bigger one. As many as 180 competitors will travel to Worthington representing Division I, Division II, Division III and junior college programs from across the region. Wrestlers from the University of Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota State, Morningside and similar schools will be thrown into the mix. There will be four mats going continuously -- two at the Center for Health and Wellness gym and two more at the Worthington Area YMCA which is adjacent to the school’s own gym facility.

Freshmen, sophomores and non-varsity starters are eligible to compete. For West wrestlers, it’s a chance to test their mettle against up-and-coming stars they don’t normally get to see.

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.
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