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Dakota Wesleyan’s Ryan Roach, left, wrestles Zach Schuman of Augustana, right, during the DWU open earlier this season. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

DWU wrestling team staying in top 25

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The Dakota Wesleyan University wrestling team has become a main stay in the NAIA wrestling national poll this season.

According to DWU wrestling coach Matt Sedivy, the team has stayed in the polls with a mixture of hard work and smart wrestling. In the most recent poll, which was released Dec. 11, the Tigers are ranked 15th.

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A month into the 2013-14 wrestling season, Wesleyan is 2-1 in duals, including wins over the University of Regina and the University of Jamestown, N.D.

“I think the guys are wrestling really well right now,” Sedivy said. “They are really trying to make corrections and they have set pretty high expectations for themselves right now.”

The Tigers have nearly three weeks before their next competitive dual, which is against Buena Vista on Jan. 8 in Storm Lake, Iowa.

The Tigers boast a lineup that features a few wrestlers who are ranked in the top 16 nationally in their respective weight classes, include Richard Rios (133), Kyle Gerlach (149), Trever DeVestern (165) and Tyler Sarringar (197).

In the most recent national poll, Rios and Gerlach were ranked sixth, DeVestern was ranked eighth and Sarringar 12th. Gerlach and Sarringar are settling into new and unfamiliar weight classes this season.

“Those guys have all done really well so far,” Sedivy said. “Tyler has gone up a few weight classes and that is not too terrible to do, but it is not as near as bad as having to go down. Kyle has cut the most weight for us. It has taken a lot of commitment, but he looks real good at 149.”

Gerlach, a Mount Vernon native, is 12-4 this season.

While those four standouts are receiving national attention, the Tigers also feature wrestlers like heavyweight Eric Gruis with a 5-2 record, 197-pounder Shea Klooster, who is 11-5, and Ryan Roach (157) with an 8-3 record.

“If we are going to reach the goals we have set for this team, it is going to take our whole lineup,” Sedivy said. “If we want to win the conference championship, every single guy is going to have to do his job.”

Last season, the Tigers were 7-5 in duals and 2-1 in conference meets. DeVestern and Dusty Paulsen each finished seventh at the NAIA national tournament, earning All-American selections.

This season, DeVestern leads the Tigers in wins. He has won 18 matches and has one loss, while Paulsen is 8-7.

Coming into the year, Wesleyan was ranked tenth in the preseason polls. The Tigers dropped to 18th in the Nov. 20 national poll but worked their way back to 15th.

DeVestern and Sarringar are the only Tigers to claim individual wrestling titles this season. Both wrestlers won the DWU Open, while DeVestern also won the Brute-Auggie Open in Minneapolis.

The Tigers’ most recent match was the Jamestown dual Dec. 11.

“I think the break comes at a pretty good time,” Sedivy said. “I think it will help the guys heal up from some of the small injuries that have occurred.”

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