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Eric Peterson, Published February 04 2010

Fast start helps Dragons tip Cobbers in college wrestling

Even though Kris Nelson is in his first season as Dragons head coach, he was in the stands a season ago when Minnesota State Moorhead lost to rival Concordia.

“I went to that dual when I was coaching at NDSU and I brought that up to them tonight when we were in the locker room,” Nelson said. “I said, ‘Hey, that loss I’m sure has been eating at you all spring and all summer long and now it’s time to get them back and let’s get a win so it eats at them.’ ”

The motivation worked.

MSUM won three of the first four matches in Wednesday’s dual en route to a 22-18 victory against Concordia at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse in nonconference college wrestling.

The Dragons (4-9), who are in NCAA Division II, snapped a five-dual losing streak.

Ranked No. 7 in the latest Division III poll, Concordia (11-5) was without three starters, including senior 165-pounder Lane Lunde, who is out for the season with a knee injury. The Cobbers beat the Dragons 18-15 last season at Memorial Auditorium.

“I thought we wrestled real well,” Cobbers coach Clay Nagel said. “It’s tough to come in here and then when you’re missing three starters, that puts you behind the eight ball a little bit, too. … I think we take out that we are doing the right things. I was proud of the way we wrestled.”

Wednesday’s dual turned at 141 pounds.

Dragons junior Brady Schneeberger scored a 6-5 decision against Concordia junior Ben Anderson, who is ranked No. 4 in D-III at 141.

Schneeberger trailed 2-0 in the first period before he scored a reversal and put Anderson to his back.

Schneeberger nearly got the pin, but settled for a 5-2 lead after the first period.

“The match that really was critical for us is 141,” Nagel said. “Ben made just one little mental error, went the wrong way with a tilt position and got his head caught underneath.”

Schneeberger had lost to Anderson earlier this season at the Cobber Open. Anderson scored a 6-1 decision in that match.

“This one meant a lot, even though it wasn’t conference,” Schneeberger said. “It’s huge, being the two schools in Moorhead.”

The Dragons clinched the dual with a victory at 171. Senior Jarret Hall earned a 6-3 decision against Concordia junior Ross Dankers. That staked MSUM to a 22-6 lead with two matches remaining.

“We wrestled well, but I think we could still wrestle a lot tougher,” Schneeberger said. “There is definitely room to improve.”

The Cobbers closed out the dual with back-to-back pins from junior Phil Moenkedick at 184 and freshman Nathan Schmitz at 197.

“We don’t walk out of here with our heads held low at all,” Nagel said. “When you compete, you don’t talk about wins and losses, you talk about getting better. That’s what we really wanted to do tonight.”

125: Ulmer, MSUM, dec. Presler 5-3.

133: Leacox, CC, dec. Forde 9-5.

141: Schneeberger, MSUM, dec. Anderson 6-5.

149: Berns, CC, dec. Bomstad 6-1.

157: Wald, MSUM, dec. Fynboh 8-4.

165: Kivel, MSUM, major dec. J. Meinert 10-2.

174: Hall, MSUM, dec. Dankers 6-3.

184: Moenkedick, CC, pinned McLean 2:43.

197: Schmitz, CC, pinned Swart 3:29.

285: Johnson, MSUM, pinned Nadeau 3:09.

Readers can reach Forum reporterEric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.