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Eric Peterson, Published December 15 2010

Peterson: Ulmer finds success his way

Kris Nelson isn’t always sure what to make of the technique Corey Ulmer uses when he has top position on an opponent on the wrestling mat.

“He puts himself in some different positions where sometimes he’s exposing his back to the mat,” the Minnesota State Moorhead head coach said. “He scares us a lot. He’s kind of been wrestling that way his whole career. Its positions you wouldn’t want the rest of your wrestlers to be in. Corey gets in them and he seems to do a great job in those positions.”

While the method may be unorthodox, Nelson can’t argue the success. Ulmer, who wrestles at 125 pounds, has a 10-3 overall record this season. Of his three losses, two have come against NCAA Division I wrestlers. The other loss came against Upper Iowa’s Trevor Franklin, who ranked No. 4 at 125 in D-II.

“I just think I’ve been wrestling pretty well,” said Ulmer, who is a redshirt junior. “I feel like I’m in better shape this year than last year.”

Ulmer was a two-time North Dakota Class B state champion, wrestling for Ashley-Wishek in high school. He won state titles at 103 as a sophomore and junior before he was upset in the 112 title match his senior season.

Ulmer was Class B Mr. Wrestler in 2007 and posted a 135-8 prep record.

Because of his size, Ulmer said wrestling was the only sport he participated in past elementary school. In fifth and sixth grade he played football and basketball, but “I was way too small for football,” Ulmer said.

Ulmer said he weighed less than 100 pounds as a freshman when he was wrestling at 103. However, that’s when he started to see success on the mat.

Ulmer started wrestling varsity right before the regional tournament. He upset a ranked wrestler and ended up being seeded for the state tournament.

“I wasn’t supposed to make, but I beat the No. 4 kid in the state,” Ulmer said. “I didn’t place, but … then I realized I could win state the next year.”

Ulmer also had his breakout college season when he was a sophomore a year ago. He led the Dragons with 21 victories and advanced to the Division II national tournament, but didn’t place.

“You could just see him improving as the year went on,” said Dragons senior Brady Schneeberger, who also made the national tournament last season at 141 pounds. “I think that was a huge confidence booster for him. He knows that he can compete at that level.”

That experience has Ulmer wanting more. His goals are to become an All-American and ultimately a national champion.

“He had a great summer,” Nelson said. “He stuck around here all summer, running, lifting and wrestling.”

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

Peterson’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com