By Joe Tischler
Special to The Free Press
The Minnesota State wrestling team is looking for a bounce back season after a disappointing 2011-12.
This year’s squad brings a good mixture of young talent and strong leadership, which includes three returning All-Americans.
Minnesota State opened the season Thursday night at Bresnan Arena, defeating Waldorf College 33-6 in a nonconference dual meet. The Mavericks looked impressive getting victories in their first seven matches.
One of the returning All-Americans grappled in the first match as David Demo battled Bo Bettinson. Neither wrestler could get the upper hand as the match remained scoreless until the end, when Demo came away with the 2-0 victory.
“I didn’t do too good out there,” said Demo. “I’m just starting off the year. Will try to get better as it goes on. It’s good to get the first tough match out of the way.”
Another returning All-American, Cody Quinn, looked very impressive. He scored a 16-0 technical fall victory over Gabe Vasquez. Quinn has lofty goals set for this year.
“I want to be a national champion this year,” he said. “I don’t feel like anyone can score on me, and it showed in that match.”
Aaron Norgren returned to the mat after sitting out last season with a broken leg. The two-time All-American looked rusty in his first match in over a year, falling to Anthony Pike 3-2.
“I’m coming back,” said Norgren. “It’s just kind of hard to get back in the swing of things.”
Even with the rough start, Norgren knows where he wants his final season to end.
“I’m going to win (the national championship) this year,” he said. “It’s my last year, senior year.”
Minnesota State begins in the season in the national rankings at No. 13 so expectations are high.
Coach Jim Makovsky knows there are a lot of things his team can do to improve, but he feels like the program is heading in the right direction.
“I’m very excited (about the season),” said Makovsky. “I feel we have the right mentality; the right attitude. They’re a good group. They make me feel a lot younger.”
The Mavericks compete at the Luther College Open at Decorah, Iowa, on Saturday.