The 40th Midwest Classic is only a week away and as teams gear up to peak at what amounts to a preview of the national tournament, the dual slate offered up a battle between two squads not currently ranked. Each program has a compelling storyline. One is a program was suspended after their longtime coach stepped down in 2015. The other is a former NAIA program that made the transition to Division II beginning in 2007. Furthermore, I have competed in both of their home gyms with about the same level of success. Next to none.
The University of Mary at Northern State University
Thursday, December 6th at 7:00 CST
Follow on Twitter: University of Mary @UMaryWrestling
I may have been born an Iowan, but I grew up in South Dakota. The only thing that can unite the two sides of the state is a battle against the “other Dakota.” East River versus West River falls to the wayside when we sense an invasion from the North. This Thursday night will see the Marauders from Mary make their way to Aberdeen, South Dakota. Make no mistake SODAK this is an invasion! I wrestled as a member of Jamestown College in the early 2000s and we competed at both Mary and Northern. I am not certain that I won a match against either team, although I might have received a forfeit against Northern. I am sorry I am not really going anywhere with this train of thought so let’s talk about this dual.
This is a battle between two teams looking to continue their climbs up the standings. Neither has broken into the top 25, but it is only a matter of time. Northern has three wrestlers currently in the rankings including two ranked ninth. Mary has two wrestlers ranked eighth and is looking for more. They will both have their chance to make a push up the standings next weekend when they travel to the Midwest Classic hosted by the University of Indianapolis. This is a conference battle for the teams as well with NSIC bragging rights on the line. Keep in mind that the NCAA DII rankings are based on tournament strength which means duals at the DII level often run counter to them. In this case, Mary currently sits just outside the top 25 with 12 points while Northern State is hot on their heels with nine.
Rocky Burkett has piloted the revitalized Northern State program for the last four years and saw them through the turbulent times that saw the program nearly erased. He has coached two All-Americans in his tenure including Blake Perryman last season who finished third at 165. Adam Aho took over the Mary head coaching position in 2013 and has seen the program grow every year. It is amazing the jobs these coaches do recruiting individual talent given their locations. Aberdeen is not exactly a hotbed of nightlife, and while Bismark is a metropolis for North Dakota, Mary is seven miles south of the city. I do not want to say that it is in a field somewhere, but I have been there, and it is in a field somewhere. That being said, I once spent a week in Aberdeen attending Boys State and by day three had formulated a plan to overthrow our supervisors and turn the place into a scene from Lord of the Flies. Coach Burkett and Aho are doing great jobs, and while this may not be a dual that would normally receive the attention it deserves, but it absolutely deserves to be the DII Dual of the Week.
As always with our Dual of the Week, we’ll break down each matchup, what each team needs to do to win, make our predictions, and have WrestleStat take on the dual as well.
University of Mary (Mary) vs. Northern State University (NSU)
125: Nate Humann (Mary) vs. Dayne Morton (NSU)
133: #8 Tate Barnhardt (Mary) vs. Nate Rodriguez (NSU)
141: #8 Hunter Eckert (Mary) vs. #9 Kolton Roth (NSU)
149: Max Bruss (Mary) vs. #12 Caden Moore (NSU)
157: Isaac Berger (Mary) vs. Walker Carr (NSU)
165: Austin Eichmann (Mary) vs. Billy Holtan or Tanner Wiese (NSU)
174: Phillip Springsteen (Mary) vs. Paxton Mewes or Jake Flakus (NSU)
184: Lance Jarrett (Mary) vs. #9 Kaden Campbell (NSU)
197: Ryan Stottler or Gabe Anderson (Mary) vs. Diego Gallegos (NSU)
Hwt: Emmitt Brooks or Gerardo Jaime (Mary) vs. Harrison Townsend (NSU)
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