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Wrestling starts season with the Luther Open

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Connor Murphy (‘19) in a clinch with an opponent early in the match.

Connor Murphy (‘19) in a clinch with an opponent early in the match.

Anthony Ramón Pérez Soto (‘20) | Chips

Anthony Ramón Pérez Soto (‘20) | Chips

Connor Murphy (‘19) in a clinch with an opponent early in the match.

Anthony Ramón Pérez Soto, Staff Writer

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Luther Wrestling hosted the Luther Open on Saturday, Nov. 11 in the Regents Center it was their first official meet of the season. Teams from NCAA Division I, II, and III participated in the event, which allowed Luther wrestlers the opportunity to wrestle a variety of skill levels.

Due to the nature of the event, there are no team scores and the results have no impact on the conference standings. Seventeen schools participated in the event, including Division I team University of Iowa. 28 Luther wrestlers took to the mat in the tournament.

According to Head Wrestling Coach Dave Mitchell, these kinds of tournaments help the wrestlers to gain experience against tough opponents. In addition, he is confident that because of this tough preparation, the wrestling team is now ready for the season.

“Having the perennial NCAA Division I power, the University of Iowa, attend the event makes it even better,” Mitchell said. “It is a great experience for our guys to wrestle top Division I opponents. We have a number of guys who I think can break out and be in the mix to place at the NCAA Tournament later in the year.”

Two Luther wrestlers competed in the elite division. Connor Murphy (‘19) placed third in the 125 weight class and Keenan Feldpausch (‘20) placed sixth in the 285 weight class.

“I was very pleased with Connor Murphy’s performance at 125 [lbs] in the elite division,” Mitchell said. “We think Connor is one of the best guys in the country. I also think we have a very special heavyweight in Keenan Feldpausch. He has great physical tools and a desire to be the best.”

Anthony Ramón Pérez Soto (‘20) | Chips
Keenan Feldpausch (‘20) attempts a single leg takedown.

Wrestlers Murphy and Billy Poray (‘18) feel that the team is strong enough to compete at a high level this season.

“We are aiming to be a trophy team at the end of the year, win nationals,” Murphy said. “Last year was a little off.”

Poray echoed Murphy’s sentiments.

“We always set our goals really high,” Poray said. “There is a long tradition of tough wrestling at Luther College. In the past 15 years we have been top in the country [Division III] several times.”

Although official training started on Oct. 10, many of the wrestlers trained before the season started.

“I stayed here this summer so that gave me a lot of good training and experience,” Murphy said. “I was lifting three to four days a week every morning.”

Fifteen first-year students joined the wrestling team this year. The new Luther wrestlers are expected to grow in experience as they take part in different tournaments, meets, and conference matches.

“We have a pretty inexperienced team and we can look much different in February than we do now if we stay true to the process and keep our eyes toward improving every week,” Mitchell said.

Poray echoed Mitchell’s sentiment about the young team and acknowledged the importance for upperclass students to help make the transition of the new wrestlers more effective.

“We still have some juniors and seniors that have been around for awhile,” Poray said. “So they [juniors and seniors] are doing a really good job of keeping everybody focused which is positive. I think everybody is extremely focused right now.”

Luther Wrestling will compete on, Saturday Nov, 18 at the Augsburg Open in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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