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ISSUE 121 VOL 12 PUBLISHED 2/29/2008

Kopietz grapples for fourth

By Monica Southworth
Staff Writer

Friday, February 29, 2008

Last week, the men's wrestling team met in Collegeville, Minn. at the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional. Senior Tom Kopietz performed well, finishing in fourth place after posting a 4-2 record in the 165 weight class.

"Tom has done a great job, said head coach Sean Ahrar. "He was sixth last year, and moved up to fourth this year."

Kopietz lost to the eventual second place winner, Ben Youel. He also lost to St. John's Matt Schrupp in a 3-2 decision.

"Even though we didn't qualify anyone, we did qualify and were invited to the National Championship Duels in January," Ahrar said.

The team finished 1-2 at the duel meet. Ahrar was satisfied with his team's finish considering it is the first time the St. Olaf wrestlers have gone to that competition.

Next weekend, the team will travel to Iowa to participate in the NWCA Open Tournament. The tournament is designed for wrestlers that didn't qualify for nationals in Division I, II and III schools. It is organized by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

"We're looking forward to this weekend, and bringing our season to a finish," Ahrar said. "We've done better than we did last year, and better than previous. Improvement is definitely happening." Though the team's roster dwindled over the course of this season due to injuries and a few other players leaving the team, Ahrar reported positives in the recruiting department. He's looking to welcome 14 new first years to his team.

"It will take a couple more years for this program to be at the level it needs to be, but we're getting there."

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