With only two matches left in the regular season, Minnesota State embarks on its final road trip of the 2022-23 season. Friday night, the Mavs will travel out east to square up with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
Coming off back-to-back losses, the Mavs sit at 5-5 in the NSIC and are looking to try and close this season on a high note. While the team is still full of underclassmen, they have shown great progress in the last months. Head Coach, Jim Makovsky, has been preaching for his guys to focus on two things.
“The biggest thing is experience, We got to keep getting quality experiences. We have been having a couple of roadblocks and trying to battle adversity. Obviously, we want to go out there and win every duel, however, the bigger part to me is developing guys. It’s been getting better, but we are looking for consistency,” said Makovsky.
As for their opponent, the Rangers are without a doubt the best team in the NSIC. While in the past two matchups, the Mavs have been victorious, this year might be more difficult. This season, the Rangers have emerged as the top dog in the NSIC and have shown it in full force.
A record of 9-0 with all but one of their wins by ten points or more. Once considered a team that was never seen as a contender, is now running the table in the NSIC. Now, they look to extend their win streak further as they square up against the Mavs in their season finale.
Two of the main stars of the show for the Rangers are 165Ibs senior, Shane Gantz, and 133Ibs freshman, Troy Dolphin. Both men are ranked the number one wrestler in the conference and have been the catalyst behind the team’s successes.
While Dolphin is still a young buck and has proven himself on numerous occasions, the real story is Gantz. With several All-American honors and championships to his name, this season he seeks something bigger.
Currently, the native of Waukesha, Wisconsin is 27-0 and has not suffered a loss since the NCAA Championship match. Entering the final season of his college career, he looks to try and end his last dance on a high note. However, that requires one more win against the Mavs in front of the fans at De Simone Arena.
This matchup is certainly one with all odds against the Mavs. The young, inexperienced underdog who is often overlooked is facing off with the undefeated champs. However, like several of those stories, never doubt anything can happen. Makovsky is especially eager to head into this matchup regardless of what might happen.
“It’s why we are here, all the training we do is for this because we want the best competition. I can only speak for myself, but I am excited because I want to see these guys’ quality experience. To do that means going up against the best of the best,” said Makovsky.
Write to Charlie Groebner at Charles.Groebner@mnsu.edu
Header photo: MSU Wrestling team heads to their final away dual of the season at UW-Parkside Friday, Feb. 10. (Dylan Engel)