Oct. 25—MITCHELL — Eight Dakota Wesleyan wrestlers were ranked in the top-six GPAC individual rankings for the preseason, including three Tigers who were No. 2 selections in their respective weight classes.
As a team, the Tigers were ranked No. 4 in the preseason coaches poll. Morningside (180) was ranked No. 1, with Doane (177) second and Briar Cliff (144) third, while DWU (108) narrowly edged Northwestern (107) for fourth.
The Tigers were also receiving votes in the preseason NAIA national top-25, which was issued on Oct. 19.
Aric Williams, Kaleb Bigelow, and Lane Miller were DWU's top preseason picks at their respective weight classes. Williams, a graduate student from Pierre, will wrestle at 149 pounds, ranked No. 2 in the conference behind Doane's Nathan Lendt. Pinedale, Wyo. native Bigelow, a sophomore, came in second at 165 pounds behind Morningside's Zander Ernst. Miller, a redshirt freshman and Howard alum, ranked second at 174 pounds with Morningside's Alex Vandyke claiming the top spot.
Williams and Bigelow were named to the all-GPAC second team last season, while Miller was an honorable mention.
Bigelow was 10th in the national preseason rankings, Williams was 15th in the country and Miller was 19th.
Additional Tigers wrestlers in the preseason rankings include redshirt sophomore Temuujin Natsagdori of Mongolia. Natsagdori was slotted fifth in the rankings at 133 pounds. Sophomore Tyson Johnson, who is also from Pierre, is also ranked fifth at 157 pounds.
Trevion Sample, Colten Hink, and Zach Zitek came in sixth in the preseason rankings for their respective classes. Hink, a sophomore from Dillingham, Alaska, will wrestle this season at 197 pounds. Coming from Arlington, Texas, Sample is in his redshirt junior year, wrestling at 184 pounds. Zitek, a fellow sophomore from Dwight, Neb., will compete at 141 pounds.
The Tigers will open their season Nov. 4, traveling to Jamestown, N.D., to compete in the Jamestown Open. Their first home dual will be Nov. 10 against Ridgewater Community College, followed by the DWU Open on Nov. 11.
GPAC preseason coaches poll
1. Morningside 180, 2. Doane 177, 3. Briar Cliff 144, 4. Dakota Wesleyan 108, 5. Northwestern 107, 6. Concordia 101, 7. Jamestown 41, 8. Midland 22, 9. Hastings 10