DWU wrestling to feature young lineup: Tigers host Concordia to open season
The Dakota Wesleyan University wrestling team’s youth has coach Casey Mouw excited for the future, but also for the immediate impact his six-wrestler recruiting class can make.
DWU is young this season, featuring one senior, a redshirt-junior and eight underclassmen. It will lead to potentially every freshman seeing the mat at some point this year.
“Since I’ve been here, this is the first real solid class that we’ve been able to bring in,” Mouw said. “… I think talent-wise, they’re definitely going to be able to handle it. The younger guys are probably going to take some lumps this year, but that’s part of making the jump from high school to college.”
Freshmen Kyle Mullaney (heavyweight) and Coby Eikenhorst (149 pounds) headline the class thus far, though Mouw has been pleased with the flashes the entire recruiting class has shown in the preseason. That includes Mitchell native Ryan McGinnis.
While the Tigers are young and could rely on their freshmen at times, they return talent from last year.
Plankinton native Marcus Urban is coming off back-to-back all-GPAC second team honors, as he finished second at 165 pounds at the Great Plains Athletic Conference championships to qualify for the NAIA championships. Now a senior, Urban has set an example for the young wrestling room with his training habits and demeanor. He’s also ready to put a bow on a stellar career.
“I think he knows the career is starting to wind down for him,” Mouw said. “There’s definitely a sense of urgency there, and I would say another level of intensity and focus that we haven’t even seen from him yet.”
Cole Halouska (174) and Mitchell native Carter Max (197) both return after qualifying for the GPAC championships a year ago, as well. Max went 10-14 and took fifth at 197 pounds during his freshman season. Mitchell Messersmith (157) is also expected to make an impact.
They enter the season on the heels of an unprecedented offseason due to COVID-19, which cut into their mat time and forced some of them to return home to train. It took a few wrestlers a couple of weeks to get conditioned once preseason started, but heading into the opening weekend, Mouw is pleased with where his team is at physically.
“We have a handful of guys that came back from the last couple of years, and you can see the maturation and development that you would expect to see,” Mouw said. “… Really pretty pleased with where we were able to pick up in September in the preseason given that regular mat time wasn’t a thing. A lot of these guys that had to go home, their training situation was off.”
DWU has a pair of chances to show off its youthful lineup this weekend. It hosts reigning GPAC champion Concordia at 6 p.m. Friday, and then hosts the DWU Open at 10 a.m. Saturday.