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The tournament, which features seven teams and five rounds of dual matches, includes a pair of nationally ranked teams in No. 8 Concordia Moorhead (
Last season in the Lakeland Duals, the Muskies won one of four dual contests, defeating UW-Eau Claire 26-21.
"I think this tournament will let us know where we're at right away,"
Here is a look at each team competing in the 2009 Lakeland Duals:
Concordia Moorhead (10-1 in dual meets in 2008-09)
The Concordia-Moorhead wrestling team is looking forward to another exciting season, highlighted again by a trip to the National Duals in January. The National Duals feature the top teams in DI, DII, DIII, NAIA and the Junior Colleges. The Cobbers were again selected for this prestigious tournament because of their strong showing last season placing fifth against the top ranked teams in DIII. The Cobbers will also be competing in the Wartburg Desert Duals Tournament on Dec. 20.
Last season the Cobbers finished the year ranked eighth nationally, finished second in the Great Lakes Conference, compiled a 10-1 dual record on the season and had a national finalist in Phil Moenkedick at 184 pounds.
The Muskies look to continue their climb as national contenders after finishing 21st at the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament last season. Five
Other top returners for the Muskies:
Sophomore Rob Frias (133): NWA champion and Rookie of the Year, fourth at Al Hanke Invite
Junior Isaac Roberson (149): NWA runner-up, sixth at Great Lakes Regional, fifth at Al Hanke Invite
Senior Jake Frias (165): NWA runner-up, runner-up at Cornell Matman Invitational
The Raiders return one national qualifier in junior Virgil Pope (141). Pope received an at-large bid to the national tournament after placing third at the Great Lakes Regional, becoming the fourth national qualifier in MSOE history.
MSOE finished third in the Northern Wrestling Association as Pope and senior Joel VandeBoom (157) claimed individual NWA championships. Following the tournament, coach Kevin Morin was selected as the league's Coach of the Year.
North Central (15-2)
Top returning starters
125 Joe Norton 3rd
133 Nathan Fitzenreider 13-2 before injury
157 Cowan Brown CCIW Champ
184 Gabe Youel 4th NCAA
197 Vinnie Sapienza 3rd
285 Rodney Knowlton
Despite the loss of NCAA runner-up Ben Youel, North Central brings an experienced team into 2009-2010. Two-time All-American Gabe Youel returns as the lone national qualifier, and he will challenge for an NCAA championship this March. A full season from the talented Fitzenreider, along with the final year of competition for regional placewinners Joe Norton and Vinnie Sapienza, should also help. North Central welcomes a fine recruiting class highlighted by
Thunder wrestling made huge strides in 2008-09, and this season holds even more expectations for the five-year old program. The Thunder upset nationally-ranked Olivet early last season and jumped into national polls for the first time ever. The Thunder also finished second in the Midwest Regional.
The team is poised for another successful season. Trine has good upper class representation, promising young wrestlers and lots of potential with a solid recruiting class that should challenge for starting spots right away.
Eight returners competed at the regional. Senior Nick Kraus at 184, finished 29-5 last season, including a third-place finish at the regional. He is 83-30 overall at Trine. Junior Alex Fleet, at 197, was also third and 30-9 on the season. Sophomore Kyle Long at 157 was 28-15 and just missed the national tournament, finishing second at the regional. Sophomore Brandon Harvey in the 125 class, was 27-15 in 2008-09 and fifth at the regional.
UW-Eau Claire (6-12)
Wrestlers to watch: Andy Johnston - took second at WIAC Championship at 149 pounds, overall record of 27-9; Jon Ames (157 pounds) - took fifth at WIAC Championship last year; Joe Pitsch (285 pounds) - took fifth at WIAC Championship last year; Zach Weisenberger (141 pounds) and Keith Dawson (174 pounds) both took sixth at WIAC Championship last year.
This season, the Blugolds return 12 letterwinners.
Starters Returning/Lost: 5/5
Lettermen Returning/Lost: 11/6
NCAA Qualifiers Returning/Lost: 0/0
All-Americans Returning/Lost: 0/0