Moorhead handles short-handed MSU

Minnesota State-Moorhead’s wrestlers controlled the majority of the matches from the opening whistle in a 41-6 dual victory over Minot State University on Thursday at the MSU Dome.

The Beavers (1-12 overall, 0-5 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) weren’t helped by a lineup that was missing three regular starters, causing MSU to forfeit two weight classes.

“When you give away 12 points, it’s just tough,” MSU coach Robin Ersland said.

The Dragons (8-3, 3-1) raced out to a 20-0 lead before MSU 157-pounder Marcus Polak won a tight 4-2 decision over Marianno Portillo. After a scoreless first period, Polak started the second in the down position and scored a quick escape and takedown for the decisive points.

The most intense match of the night was the last one. In a battle of two North Dakota prep state champions, MSU heavyweight Bobby Bartz (a Harvey High School graduate) scored the final two takedowns of the match to defeat Gerad Fugleberg – a former Class A champion from Fargo South.

Bartz, who won the match 7-2, drew the loudest cheers of the night, partially due to about 15 of his football teammates rooting him on.

“It’s fun,” Bartz said. “It’s just a great crowd when you got a bunch of people besides your wrestling teammates. You’ve got another (group of) people in the crowd that aren’t afraid to yell and let you know that they’re there for ya. And it also reminds me if I lose, I’m gonnna hear a lot of crap the next day in weights.”

Aside from the Polak and Bartz wins, the only other close match was at 165 pounds, where Moorhead senior Kerron Williams edged MSU freshman Eric O’Neill 7-6. The Dragons handled the Beavers in short order outside of those matchups, as three of Moorhead’s grapplers pinned their opponents and another won by technical fall.

Moorhead coach Kris Nelson said his grapplers were more aggressive against the Beavers than during a 23-13 win over the University of Mary on Wednesday.

“I thought we wrestled well tonight,” Nelson said. “Last night against Mary I thought we were a little flat. We let the guys know that as a coaching staff, of course, and tonight they came out and had more of a presence right off the whistle and just kind of got after it.”

MSU travels to Northern State (S.D.) for a conference dual Feb. 1.