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Sedivy, 6 DWU wrestlers headed to NAIA national wrestling championships

Dakota Wesleyan wrestling coach Matt Sedivy looks on as two wrestlers compete in a dual in December 2012. At the end of this season, Sedivy will step down after five years as head coach. ( Republic file photo)

This weekend will be bittersweet for Dakota Wesleyan University wrestling coach Matt Sedivy.

It will be the final time the Wesleyan head coach, who resigned in January, will coach his wrestlers.

The final wrestling meet Sedivy will coach is the NAIA National Championships, which is Friday and Saturday in Topeka, Kan.

In his final season leading the Tigers, Sedivy’s group won nine duals — the most wins in program history since the 1968-69 season, when the Tigers won 12.

“It has been a heck of a ride,” Sedivy said. “It has been fun to build up relationships with them and now I am rooting for them to finish strong. They have all sacrificed a lot and now I want them to compete the best they possibly can. This weekend is about trying to get these guys to earn All-American honors to finish out the season.”

Six wrestlers will hit the mat Friday at the national championships in hopes of earning All-American honors and a national championship.

DWU will be represented by Tyler Sarringar (184), Richard Rios (133), Trever DeVestern (165), Kyle Gerlach (149), Dusty Paulsen (149) and Ryan Roach (157).

“I am pretty excited,” Mount Vernon native Gerlach said. “We are hoping the third time’s the charm. We have been working hard all year and we are hoping it pays off. I am just going to have to wrestle hard every second that I am on the mat. Everybody is good at the national tournament, so you have to give it all you’ve got and hope something good happens.”

Rios and DeVestern each earned their bids by reaching the finals at the NAIA North Qualifier, which Wesleyan hosted in February. Sarringar, Gerlach, Paulsen and Roach all earned wildcards for their performances throughout the year. Other than Roach, the five Tigers participated at the national tournament last year.

Heading into championships, DeVestern sports a 28-2 record and is ranked fourth at 165. Rios is ranked ninth with a 18-4 record, while Gerlach is 20-12 and ranked 14th. Sarringar (20-6), Roach (17-7) and Paulsen (12-11) were not ranked in the most recent national polls.

“If they have a clean tournament, any of those six guys could earn All-American honors,” Sedivy said. “They just have to wrestle and execute their plans. They have been there before so the lights aren’t going to be too bright for them.

“Heading into nationals last year, I don’t think anyone would have predicted Dusty Paulsen would be an All-American outside of our staff. That just shows you that if you have the right mindset, you can have a good tournament.”

The Tigers arrive in Topeka, Kan., today and will practice in preparation for the start of the tournament Friday.