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Good numbers grace MW wrestling “grinders”

Minnesota West wrestler Elijah Riemer performs a lunge during practice warmups. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)1 / 2
Bluejays Dorian Franklin (in blue) and Rashawn Crumpler go through wrestling moves as they warm up before practice. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- The wrestling room at Minnesota West Community and Technical College is more crowded this year.

And that’s the best news yet for the Bluejays, who are bringing the numbers back under second-year head coach Bryan Cowdin. In recent seasons, depth has been a problem for the Jays, and that included last season when the numbers fell to single digits. This year there are 14 wrestlers on hand -- all freshmen.

Better yet, Cowdin reports, the newcomers love the sport.

“We have a lot of kids that like to work. That’s exciting. It’s just exciting to see kids who are trying to get better,” Cowdin said.

Several of the Bluejays competed last weekend at the Rochester Open, and several more will return to action today at the Dakota Wesleyan University Open in Mitchell, S.D.

The DWU open is “a grind,” said Cowdin, who likes to characterize his 2018-19 wrestlers as “grinders.”

“That’s what you want as a coach. Just kids who are going to come in and soak it up and get better,” explained the former Worthington High School standout. “Smart and aggressive. We’ve got a lot of grinders. Even if they’re down in the third (period), they just keep grinding away and maybe make the other guy quit.”

Some of Minnesota West’s top recruits include:

Austin Bucholz, a hard worker from Tracy who will compete at 184 or 197 pounds. Also on hand is 165-174-pounder Dorian Franklin of Omaha, Neb., who is exceptionally talented on his feet. Braydon Johnson, a 165-pounder from Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, “loves to work,” according to Cowdin, and goes 110 percent.

Adam Rients, a 149-pounder who also hails from J-W-P, is a state high school tournament qualifier who is highly competitive by nature and learns new techniques quickly. A second recruit from Omaha, 157-pounder Tre’Vion Williams has long arms, a nifty double-leg takedown, and outstanding athleticism.

The Bluejays have enough bodies to be able to stage some dual meets this winter.

“Our strength is probably in the middle. We’ve got some guys in the upper weights, too. The lower weights will have to improve a lot. That’s just part of building a team,” Cowdin said.

New assistant coaches Mitchell Hartwig and Jake Steffl will assist in getting the Bluejays ready. Steffl is from Worthington. Hartwig wrestled at Minnesota State University-Mankato.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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