The Minnesota State University Moorhead wrestling team held an 16-6 lead after six matches but Southwest Minnesota State rallied with four straight wins to earn an 18-16 win over the Dragons in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference dual Thursday night in Moorhead.
"We were glad to get back on the mat and start up competition,” MSUM head coach Kris Nelson said. “We have not competed since regionals last season so we were glad to get to compete again. I felt we let the dual slip away at the upper weights. We lost matches at the end of the third period which helped Southwest win the dual. We let a few slip away that we were in to the very end.”
MSUM fell to 0-1 overall and in the NSIC while SMSU improved to 1-0 overall and in the league.
Juni0r Braydon Ortloff was a national qualifier at 165 for MSUM last winter before the Covid-19 pandemic caused the cancelation of the national meet. The Detroit Lakes native recorded the only fall of the dual on Thursday, pinning Carter Marx in 5:54 to push the Dragon lead to 16-6.
After Ortloff's pin, the Mustangs rattled off four straight wins to rally for the two-point dual win.
"I felt our conditioning was good but we need to use that to our advantage and keep scoring points until the end of the match,” Nelson said. “I was impressed with Tell Ward's win at 157 and was good to see Cole Jones back on the mat again after being out last season with an injury. Braydon Ortloff and Mason Schulz also wrestled smart matches tonight and (it) was good to see Braydon and Cole get bonus points."
Junior Cole Jones, an All-American in 2018-19 at 125, missed the 2019-20 season recovering from an injury but looked strong in his first competition in almost two years. He recorded an 8-0 major decision win over SMSU's Ben Emrich at 125 to give MSUM an early 4-0 lead.
Junior Mason Schulz had a solid sophomore campaign for MSUM, going 20-17 at 141. He started off the 2020-21 season strong with a 4-1 win over SMSU's Justin Sampson at 141 on Thursday.
Senior Tell Ward also picked up a hard-fought win for the Dragons, toppling SMSU's Sean Howk by a 6-4 decision at 157.
MSUM hosts Upper Iowa next at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14.
SMSU 18, MSU Moorhead 16
125-Cole Jones (MSUM) maj. dec. Ben Emrich, 8-0
133-Jackson Stauffacher (SMSU) dec. Joey Nerdahl, 10-5
141-Mason Schulz (MSUM) dec. Justin Sampson, 4-1
149-Robert Shields (SMSU) dec. Angel Rios, 5-1
157-Tell Ward (MSUM) dec. Sean Howk, 6-4
165-Braydon Ortloff (MSUM) pinned Carter Marx, 5:54
174-Hayden Voxland (SMSU) dec. Evan Foster, 11-4
184-Caden Steffen (SMSU) dec. Steven Abbott, 11-5
197-Jackson Ryan (SMSU) dec. Jake Erckenbrack, 5-3
285-Jacob Dykes (SMSU) dec. Jaden Oestren, 4-1