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Eric Peterson, Published January 25 2012

Practice paying off for MSUM wrestler Ulmer

MOORHEAD – Corey Ulmer doesn’t mind taking abuse from Minnesota State Moorhead head coach Kris Nelson.

Nelson is Ulmer’s toughest practice partner in the wrestling room.

“He beats me down pretty good,” Ulmer said, cracking a slight smile.

Ulmer continued to beat down his opponents Wednesday night at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

The senior scored a pin at 125 pounds, but the University of Mary rallied for a 24-19 victory against the Dragons in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference dual.

The Dragons (1-5, 0-2 NSIC) have lost five straight duals.

“It’s a tough feeling, but you have to think about yourself individually for that one match, then once that’s over with, go back to the dual and start cheering on your teammates,” said Ulmer, who is from Wishek, N.D.

Ulmer (16-2) is ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division II. He placed seventh at the national tournament last season and was a national qualifier the season prior to that.

“Corey is doing a great job this year,” Nelson said. “I think he’s got a really good shot at winning a national title. I think his goal should be and his only goal should be to win a national title.”

Ulmer was sharp against Mary, scoring a first-period pin against Mary freshman Hunter Menendez.

“Corey came out and he got after it right away and he got that cradle and he got the pin for us,” Nelson said. “That’s what we asked him to do and he did it for us.”

Ulmer’s pin gave MSUM a 19-12 lead with two matches remaining in the dual. The Marauders (4-3, 1-3) countered with back-to-back falls, good for 12 team points and enough to overtake the Dragons.

Mary sophomore Trevor Johnson earned a pin at 2 minutes, 15 seconds at 141 to secure the victory in the final match of the dual. Mary had three falls against the Dragons.

“We can’t afford to give up bonus points, and we gave up three pins tonight,” Nelson said. “That’s the difference.”

Ulmer said having Nelson as a practice partner has been a difference-maker in his stellar senior season. Nelson was a 133-pound national champion in 2000 when he wrestled at North Dakota State, a Division II program at the time.

“He’s pushing me every day,” Ulmer said of Nelson. “It’s good to have him around. It’s been helping me a lot.”

Nelson, who now weighs around 150 pounds, wrestles against Ulmer usually two or three times a week.

“I think it’s good for him to maybe get some different partners,” Nelson said. “I think I can push him. I can make him work pretty hard. I’ve got a little size on him.”

So who would win the coach-pupil showdown if they wrestled in a match?

“We’re not going to go there,” Nelson said with a laugh.”He makes me work. He’s hard to get away from. He’s turned me to my back a couple times. He’s got a funky style.”

125: Ulmer, MSUM, pinned Menendez 1:32.

133: Larson, Mary, pinned Garlington 5:44.

141: Johnson, Mary, pinned MacGregor 2:15.

149: Steinwand, MSUM, major dec. Beaman 12-3.

157: Engelhardt, Mary, dec. Williams 3-1 (ot).

165: Nagel, Mary, dec. Bennett 3-2.

174: Sovde, MSUM, dec. Devito 5-3.

184: Anderson, Mary, pinned Kalkbrenner :34.

197: Lehmann, MSUM, dec. McCleary 8-5.

285: Fugleberg, MSUM, dec. Patron 6-2.

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

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com