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Mustangs top Jimmies on mat

Jamestown's Antonio Ruiz (top) wrestles Morningside's Lane Eggen Thursday night at Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun1 / 2
Jamestown's Devon Lyle (right) wrestles Morningside's Steven Garcia Thursday night at Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 2

Not much went wrong for 20th-ranked Morningside College on the wrestling mat Thursday at Harold Newman arena.

The Mustangs won seven of nine contested matches over University of Jamestown, topping the Jimmies 30-6 in the first Great Plains Athletic Conference dual between the two programs. The Jimmie matmen narrowly fell 21-17 to Midland University in Jamestown's first ever GPAC competition on Nov. 3 at the Larson Center.

The rest of Jimmie athletics will follow the wrestling team to the GPAC next season.

"These guys were very hospitable and it's a great facility," said Morningside head wrestling coach Jake Stevenson, who was a four-time All-American for Morningside. "We're happy they're in the conference. It was a good trip."

The Jimmies unsuccessfully tried to hide a few keys injuries during the team's final home dual of the season. Both Brandon Aragon and Mike Zupan were sidelined Thursday, but University of Jamestown head coach Dan Lovell said both should return.

Zupan, a senior from Moorhead, placed eighth at 174 pounds last season at the NAIA national championships to earn All-American honors. Zupan is currently ranked seventh in the NAIA, while Aragon, a junior from Pueblo, Colo., is ranked 16th at 149.

"We're missing a national qualifier and we're missing our All-American. We only had four guys who were in their right weight class," Lovell said. "You can't be playing around like that against a nationally-ranked team."

The Jimmies, however, gave up just one pin, while freshman Antonio Ruiz and sophomore William Parks each notched three-point decisions for Jamestown at 141 and 197, respectively. Morningside's Dusten Reed was able to pin Stuart Brandt with 21 seconds remaining in the first period at 133, erasing Brandt's 6-4 advantage at the time of the pin.

"We had a few matches where I thought we could finish a little stronger," Stevenson said. "We didn't necessarily win going away. Jamestown fought hard and stayed in them, and kept looking for points."

Jamestown was open at heavyweight. The Mustangs won three straight GPAC wrestling titles from 2012-14.

"We just weren't ready," Lovell said. "We know we got a lot more to do, but we know we are still a young team overall. A lot of these guys it's their first time out there on the mat."

Both the Jimmies and the Mustangs will be competing at the Dickinson State Open on Saturday. Lovell said the Jimmies are looking forward to meeting the challenge of GPAC competition in the winters to come.

"With everyone in the right weight class I think we can hang with everybody," Lovell said. "We need to find a heavyweight. We'll get there."

(20) Morningside 30, (RV) Jamestown 6

285: (20) Phil Rasmussen, M won by forfeit.

125: Devin Phaly, M dec. Jesse Barajas, 7-4.

133: Dusten Reed, M pinned Stuart Brandt, 2:39.

141: Antonio Ruiz, J dec. Lane Eggen, 8-4.

149: (11) Steven Garcia, M dec. Devon Lyle, 10-3.

157: Keagan Putnam, M dec. Justin Folsom, 8-3.

165: Nickolas Madsen, M dec. Jackson Schauer, 8-1.

174: Jacob Wiley, M dec. Teo Robison, 8-3.

184: (17) Logan Moore, M dec. Matt Hernandez, 6-2.

197: William Parks, J, dec. Elijah Dirkx, 7-1.

Dual records: Morningside 2-3. Jamestown 3-5.

Michael Savaloja

Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota

A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.

Follow on Twitter: @MichaelSavaloja

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