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DWU wrestling headed back to National Duals tourney

For the second time in three years, the Dakota Wesleyan University wrestling team will compete at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals.

“It is pretty cool to be invited to the tournament,” said DWU wrestling coach Matt Sedivy, who found out earlier this week his team was invited. “Above anything else, it is great to go down there and see some teams that we normally wouldn’t see until the national tournament.”

The tournament, which is Jan. 11-12 in Des Moines, Iowa, features teams from all levels of college wrestling including NAIA, NCAA Division II and III and the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Eight of the NAIA’s top 10 teams will be in attendance, which will give the No. 11 Tigers a chance to make a case to move up in the national rankings. DWU will get a stern test as it meets No. 8 Cumberland (Tenn.) in the first round of the tournament.

“There is not going to be an easy dual at the tournament,” Sedivy said. “It is going to come down to every matchup and every dual is going to be tough.”

DWU is also one of three Great Plains Athletic Conference teams participating in the tournament. Morningside College and Midland University are also representing the GPAC.

Sedivy said the atmosphere at the National Duals is reminiscent to the NAIA National Tournament.

“This is an atmosphere that you can’t replicate,” he said. “It is as close to what we will see in March at the national tournament.”

The last time the Tigers competed in the National Duals was the 2011-12 season. That year, DWU was ranked 16th in the NAIA and beat No. 5 Lindsey Wilson, No. 6 Montana State-Northern and No. 7 Midland.

“The guys are excited about the tournament,” Sedivy said. “We feel like we belong this year. Having missed out on it last year, we are happy to go back. But this time we have a target and won’t come in under the radar.”

The Tigers have three wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in the nation at their respective weight classes in 133-pounder Richard Rios (12-2), 165-pounder Trever DeVestern (18-1) and 149-pounder Kyle Gerlach (12-4). 197-pounder Tyler Sarringar (11-2) sits just outside of the top 10 at 197 pounds in 11th.