MOORHEAD, Minn. — The Minnesota State University Moorhead wrestling team is looking to build on last season’s 8-5 record. The Dragons will have only one senior on their roster this year but return five starters from that squad as they officially begin the season Saturday at the Bison Open in Fargo, N.D.
Entering the season, the team is ranked eighth in Super Region 3 in the preseason Basford Rankings, with six individual wrestlers ranked entering the season.
“We have a young team,” MSUM head coach Kris Nelson said. “We will rely on our big freshman group to carry us through the season.”
Captain Blake Bosch returns at 133 pounds after earning All-American honors in the class a year ago. Last season, Bosch finished eighth at the national tournament last March. He also finished the season with a 27-12 mark on his way to being named to the All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference First Team.
Mike Urban is the lone senior who is returning and will battle with Austin Warren, who is a junior and is ranked fourth in the region at 184 pounds.
Junior Shane Novak, who is ranked seventh in the Basford Rankings, will look to improve on his 13-9 mark from last season while getting the starting job at 125 pounds.
Nader Abdullatif looks to be the starter at heavyweight, but he will miss the first part of the season with an injury. In his absence, the team will look to two freshmen to take his place, with Dillon Card and Ben Button both possibilities for that role.
Junior Garret Hoffner will be the starter at 157 pounds. Hoffner just missed out on making it to the national tournament last season, and is ranked sixth in the region in the Basford Rankings.
Junior Isaac Novacek, who started at 149 a year ago, and junior Dan Murakami, who started at 165 a year ago, also return with experience.
“We are fortunate to have the roster like it is because most teams have trouble filling the lighter weights and the heavier weights,” Nelson said. “We are really lucky to have Steven Monk joining us as a coach this season because he is able to help us get a lot of recruiting done at the upper weights. Our other assistant coach is Eric Sanders, who was a five-time state champion in high school.
“Our goals for the season are to get 10-plus wins, and to get more guys through to the national tournament, which will be hard since we are in one of the toughest regions in the nation.”
After the Bison Open, the Dragons will welcome crosstown rival Concordia College to Nemzek on Nov. 18. The regional tournament is scheduled for Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Bison Open Brackets/Results on TrackWrestling.com
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