With the regular season finale officially over, now, the true fun begins. After three long months full of action-pack duels, we have finally reached the one that matters most. Minnesota State Wrestling gets ready to take the ultimate test as they prepare to compete in the Super Region V Tournament.
A day-long tournament that pits the top sixteen wrestlers from Division II against each other. Those who finish in the top three will punch a ticket to the NCAA tournament; a chance to compete for the ultimate prize in collegiate wrestling. This year will be an even more intense playing field with added pressure for everyone to show up.
The Mavs will be one of the more intriguing teams heading into this year’s tournament. As a team, they have been known for difficulties over the season. However, individually, they have some of the top wrestlers in the conference. While most of the younger guys are looking to experience the big stage for the first time, the more experienced guys like senior Brodie Nielsen are looking to make the most of what could be their final matches.
“Every match is going to be a battle, everyone in the conference is wrestling each other and knows each other. Can’t reinvent the wheel, but you’ve got to fine-tune some things. Get ready to give it everything and not count anyone out,” said Nielsen.
Another MSU senior that many people will have their eyes on is Darrell Mason. The native of Chicago, Illinois dominated in last year’s tournament to remain undefeated and become a National Champion. But like many people often say, getting to the top is the easy part, defending the top is a whole different story. This year, he looks to defend his title in what will be the final tournament of his collegiate career. Currently ranked as the number six heavyweight in DII, he is eager to defend his title one last time.
However, as the countdown to Saturday grows closer, there are still the nerves that rest within the team. Regardless, of whether they are a starter or just soaking it in on the bench during the tournament, one slip-up or mistake could result in being sent home. The pressure is on to perform at the highest level. Even for more experienced guys like Nielsen, there is still the added feeling of knowing that every match could be his last one.
“There are some nerves that are setting in as it gets closer. It’s my last year so I want to make the most of it and go out on a good note. I am preparing to wrestle everyone and make the most of the opportunity along with the other seniors,” said Nielsen.
Write to Charlie Groebner at Charlie.Groebner@mnsu.edu
Header photo: The MSU Wrestling team looks to bring home victories as they compete Saturday, Feb. 25 in the NCAA Super Region V Championship in Aberdeen, South Dakota. (Dylan Engel)