With the return of six of its NAIA national qualifiers from last season the Morningside wrestling team hopes to be in the hunt for a fourth consecutive Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) championship during the 2013-2014 season.
Aside from winning last season’s GPAC title the Mustangs also posted a 12-4 dual record and crowned their second national champion in school history when John Sievert captured the 197 pound crown. Sievert, from Akron, is an Akron-Westfield Community School alumni.
The Mustangs’ top returning wrestler is John’s brother, Joe Sievert, a 174 pound fifth-year senior from Akron, who hopes to rebound from an injury to that sidelined him for most of the 2012-2013 season. Sievert, the 2012 GPAC Wrestler of the Year and a two-time NAIA All-American, was off to an 8-0 record start last season before he suffered the injury. Joe Sievert, who has an 84-14 career record for the ninth highest victory total in Morningside history, will join the Mustangs at semester break.
Morningside is ranked 19th in the nation in the NAIA Wrestling Coaches Pre-Season Poll.
Morningside returns its top winner from last season in Nathan Ryan, a 141 pound sophomore from Moville, who ha a 26-14 record with six falls and was a NAIA national qualifier.
Tyler Kacmarynski, a senior heavyweight from Spencer, is a three-time NAIA national qualifier who comes off a strong 2012-2013 season when he posted a 23-6 record with six falls. Kacmarynski enters this season in 12th place on Morningside’s all-time victory list with a career record of 73-40.
The Mustangs bring back two other 20-match winners in NAIA national qualifiers Rulin Pederson, a 184 pound sophomore from Sioux City and Chris Bridgeford, a sophomore heavyweight from Mondamin, Iowa. Pederson had a 22-7 record with three falls while Bridgeford had a 20-13 record with a team-high nine falls.
Garrett Lambrecht, a 144 pound junior from Wood River, Neb., and a two-time NAIA national qualifier, also won nine matches by fall to tie Bridgeford for team honors. Lambrecht had an 18-9 record last season and has a 40-18 record with 21 falls over his two-year career.
Kevin Olson, a 141 pound senior from Dallas, Ga., was one of the Mustangs’ top newcomers last season when he logged a record of 17-12 with three falls and was a NAIA national qualifier.
Harrison Johnson, a 165 pound senior from Sterling, Colo., had an 11-7 record with two falls last season and has a 38-30 record with seven falls during his career.
Nate Taylor, a 141 pound junior from Rock Valley, Iowa, is a two-year letter winner with a 22-25 record, including a 12-12 mark with three falls last season.
The Mustangs’ top newcomer could be Tyler Lashbrook, a 149 pound junior from Wellsburg, Iowa, who joined the team as a transfer from Ellsworth Community College, where he had a 23-15 record last season and earned junior college All-American honors after a sixth-place finish in the 141 pound division at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament.
The Mustangs’ most decorated freshman is Marcus Nelson, a 165 pounder from Valentine, Neb., who was a three-time state champion during his prep career at Valentine High School. Nelson had a 34-4 record en route to last year’s Nebraska Class C 145 pound state title. He also captured the 145 pound crown as a junior and had a 24-5 record at Lincoln southwest High School and was last season’s Nebraska Class A 120 pound state runner-up.
Tyson Dowler, a 157 pound freshman from Alliance, Neb., was an undefeated (29-0) Class B 152 pound state champion last season at Alliance High School.
Keegan Williams. a 125 pound freshman from Lincoln, Neb., had a 25-4 record at Lincoln Southwest High School and was last season’s Nebraska Class A 120 pound state runner-up.