Tigers win thriller over Hastings

Dakota Wesleyan wrestler Kyle Henderson only had one win all season entering Wednesday's dual meet against Hastings College, but the 184-pounder came through in a big way against the Broncos.

Matt Bunke/Republic Dakota Wesleyan's Billy Murtha, top, wrestles against Hastings' Bryan May in the 157-pound match of Wednesday's dual at the Christen Family Wellness Center. DWU won 19-16.

Dakota Wesleyan wrestler Kyle Henderson only had one win all season entering Wednesday's dual meet against Hastings College, but the 184-pounder came through in a big way against the Broncos.

Henderson broke a 16-16 tie in the final match of the night, winning a 10-3 decision over the Broncos' Sam Krueger to give the Tigers a 19-16 win over Hastings in a Great Plains Athletic Conference dual at the Christen Family Wellness Center.

"We've been working on (Henderson) this week to just wrestle," DWU head coach Josh Hardman said. "We wanted him to not worry about the scores, not worry about who he's wrestling. He needed to just wrestle the match he knows how to wrestle, and he went out there and did it. He got taken down once, but he was able to come back and get the win."

The Tigers led 16-12 entering the final two matches of the night, but at 174 pounds, the Tigers knew Blake Hodne faced a tough opponent in Jameon Rush, ranked sixth nationally. Rush came through for Hastings, recording an 11-3 major decision to tie the match at 16-16, setting the stage for the decisive 184-pound match.

Henderson trailed 3-2 early in the second period, but then pulled ahead with a reversal. He tacked on three nearfall points when he nearly got a pin in the closing seconds of the second period, and then added a takedown and a riding-time point in the third.


"That was good to see from Kyle," Hardman said. "It was a big win for him, and he needed that. It was a big win for our team."

The win was the first GPAC win of the season for DWU, which improved to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the GPAC in the team's first dual in a month. The meet was Hastings' first dual of the season.

The Tigers dug themselves an early hole, allowing Hastings to win decisions in the first three matches to take a 9-0 lead. Hastings' Andrew Sorenson opened the night with a 4-1 decision over DWU's Todd Casselman at 197 pounds, and the Broncos' Justin Boyce followed with an 8-2 decision over DWU's Derek Ashley in the heavyweight match. Nathan Stepp's 9-3 decision over the Tigers' Jeff Holmes at 125 pounds gave Hastings the early 9-0 cushion.

"The 125 match is one we shouldn't have lost," Hardman said of Holmes' match, which Holmes led by a point entering the third period. "I definitely would have liked to see Jeff Holmes win a match. He has to be able to finish matches, and he hasn't been doing that. When he finishes matches, he's going to be good."

The Tigers regrouped quickly, however, getting on the board with a forfeit at 133 pounds, and then winning three consecutive decisions to take a 16-9 lead. Malik Stewart, normally a 133-pounder who was wrestling at 141 pounds Wednesday, opened the stretch of wins with a 4-2 decision over Hastings' Justin Ferguson.

"That was a big win for us," Hardman said of the match that tied things up at 9-9.

DWU's Danny Hutcheson followed with an 11-0 major decision over Brad Cusatis at 149 pounds to give DWU its first lead, and then the Tigers' Billy Murtha scored a 6-2 decision over Bryan May to give the DWU the 16-9 lead.

"(Murtha) sat out first semester, and this was his first match back for his senior year," Hardman said. "It was a good way to start it out. He's only had seven or eight practices, so for him to step up and pull out a big win for us was very key."


The Tigers may run into Hastings again on Saturday, when the Broncos host the Quality Inn Hotel Open, which starts at 9 a.m. The Tigers will return to GPAC dual action on Jan. 15 when they host Dana College in a 7 p.m. meet at the Wellness Center.

"We've got a team goal to finish high in the GPAC this year," Hardman said. "We have to get wins when you can get wins, and this one was nice to get. We definitely were not sure if it would be there throughout the match, but any time we can get one and squeak one out, we have to be happy about it."

DWU 19, Hastings 16

197: Andrew Sorenson (H) dec. Todd Casselman, 4-1 (HC 3, DWU 0)

HWT: Justin Boyce (H) dec. Derek Ashley, 8-2 (HC 6, DWU 0)

125: Nathan Stepp (H) dec. Jeff Holmes, 9-3 (HC 9, DWU 0)

133: Brandon Goodwin (DWU) won by forfeit (HC 9, DWU 6)

141: Malik Stewart (DWU) dec. Justin Ferguson, 4-2 (DWU 9, HC 9)


149: Danny Hutcheson (DWU) m dec. Brad Cusatis, 11-0 (DWU 12, HC 9)

157: Billy Murtha (DWU) dec. Bryan May, 6-2 (DWU 16, HC 9)

165: Robert Rentfro (H) dec. Tanner LaValliere, 7-2 (DWU 16, HC 12)

174: Jameon Rush (H) m dec. Blake Hodne, 11-3 (DWU 16, HC 16)

184: Kyle Henderson (DWU) dec. Sam Krueger, 10-3 (DWU 19, HC 16)

What To Read Next
Get Local