The Gator Duals

Arica Burns

Millikin’s Wrestling went 4-2 this past Saturday, December 21st, in Nashville, TN at the Gator Duals. They beat University of Ozarks 34-11, Huntingdon College 37-7, Simpson College 34-12. They lost to Wisconson-Eau Claire 27-21 and Luther College 22-17 before ending the day with a 59-0 sweep over Wilmington College.

The Big Blue wrestled first second and third string guys versus first string guys all day. They had to wrestle in two teams because they’re duals were around, if not at the same time. They won 41 of 60 matches for the day, only losing 19 of the 60.

“I think the guys went out there and battled hard,” said Ryan Birt, Head Coach. “We wrestled our first, second, and third stringers against all first-string kids. We wrestled all our guys against Varsity competition because I want them to see what real life Varsity competition is like. That’s the only way they can get better. We won 41 out of 60 matches, so we lost 19 out of the total 60 matches.”

It was a battle for them to compete in six duals leading from morning until afternoon, but they did it. There were some bad weight cuts, according to Coach Birt, that seemed to affect some of the guys wrestling in a negative way. That’s part of what wrestling is though, according to Coach Birt, it’s a demanding sport both physically and mentally.

“I think everybody went out there with great intentions,” said Coach Birt. “I think a couple of the guys who were up against top rank guys kind of went out intimidated at first, but worked their way into the matches. You’ve got to be all in from the first whistle. I think that’s room for growth though.”

Several of the guys performed well, Tristan Birt, Junior, went 3-0 on the day going against University of Ozarks, Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and Wilmington College.

“I feel like, me personally, I thought I did pretty well,” said junior Tristan Birt. I’ve had a rough start to the season with a weight cut. I moved up a weight, I felt better. I just felt like I had more energy, more strength, and I thought I was able to perform better.”

The team, as a whole struggled, giving up some pins to lose duals that they had won, but they still managed to pull out 4-2. Birt was the only one to pull out a 3-0 win on the day. Dazey brought out a 3-0 win against Huntingdon College, Simpson College, and Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

“I feel like, individually, I wrestled to my full potential, pulled out three wins, going 3-0 on the day,” said Ren Dazey, sophomore. “The team looks soft in some areas, there’s a lot of room for improvement, and we need to work on all the basics and come together as a unit to pull off some wins.”

The team will be on a break as the holidays come, so there will be no competitions until January 4th. On January 4th at 9:30 a.m. ET, they will be in Ohio competing at the D3 National Challenge, facing three teams. All of their past and future meets can be found on their Facebook page at Millikin University Wrestling.