Tigers led by Gerlach with 19 victories
The Dakota Wesleyan University wrestling team is 6-4 in duals this year and ranked 17th in the NAIA this season.
Leading that charge is sophomore Kyle Gerlach. The Mount Vernon native has 19 wins, his latest came Tuesday with a 9-4 decision over Briar Cliff's Dylan Kavanaugh at 157 pounds.
"The season has been going really good this year," said Gerlach, who has set a goal of reaching the podium at the NAIA national tournament in March. "We had a pretty good offseason this year and I think it has really been paying off. We are competing as a team a lot more this year than we did last year."
Right behind Gerlach in wins is 174-pounder Tyler Sarringar, who has 14, while Trevor DeVestern has 13.
Gerlach and DeVestern each wrestle at 157 pounds. Gerlach also wrestled at 165 pounds, while teammate Nick Hutcheson was out with an injury earlier this season.
"In duals, we usually have to put one in and sit the other," DWU coach Matt Sedivy said. "It's based on feel, matchups or styles. But if one of them is kind of banged up, it's kind of easier to decide."
They will have the opportunity to face each other in NAIA regions this year because teams are allowed to enter two wrestlers per weight class.
"There is kind of a little competition, but we both know that at the end of year, we want to see each other do well," said Gerlach, who lost to DeVestern in the region finals last year. "It's really tough to wrestle a teammate at a tournament. I don't think either one of us enjoys it."
Richard Rios (133) is also having a good year for the Tigers. Rios has the best winning percentage on the team with 11 wins and only two losses.
Rios and DeVestern are each ranked No. 1 in their weight classes in the NAIA's north group. Gerlach is ranked second and Sarringar is fourth. Rios is ranked fifth nationally, DeVestern is sixth and Gerlach is ninth.
Sedivy said his team has not wrestled as many matches this season because of the wear and tear on the athletes.
"I think we are wrestling fairly well," Sedivy said. "The biggest thing right now is trying to get some guys healthy and make sure they are ready for the stretch run."