After a slow start, the Morningside College wrestling team has gone from being unranked to tenth in the NAIA poll. They've also locked up at least a share of their fourth straight GPAC championship.
Despite some early setbacks, this week's SportsFource Champions never lost confidence. At the beginning of the season, there was no shortage of confidence in the Morningside wrestling room.
"We were unranked and we always felt like we were a team that could be in the top 10," Head Coach Jake Stevenson said.
"Kind of looking in as a senior, I knew what we had coming in all ready," senior Jordan Langley said. "As far as talent on the team, I knew we could do well."
With several grapplers individually ranked, after rough outings against some of the top Division I, Division II and NAIA squads, frustration set in.
"We fell short at the Desert Duals, we feel short at National Duals and we really felt like this year was our year and ended up falling short there," Langley added.
"It's tough taking a loss any time," senior 141-pounder Kevin Olson said. "But you fall, you just have to get back up. You have to learn from your mistakes. I think all of us have learned from those errors and now we're making it happen at the right time."
Now tenth in the national rankings, the Mustangs have won eight straight matches and boast a perfect 6-0 mark the GPAC. While the results weren't there the first half of the year, the rigorous schedule prepared the squad for a strong second half.
"Our records didn't look as good as other teams, but going out and getting that competition has paid off and it's showing right now," Stevenson said.
"When you're able to win, but no only just win but dominate every conference dual we've had and prove we're the best, it's fun," Langley added. "We set goals in the beginning of the year and to see those goals reached, it's pretty fun."
"We're performing well and towards the end of the year when it matters," Olson said. "We're all competing at our highest."
Morningside can clinch the conference outright on Friday against Midland.
Morningside's Tyler Kacmarynski is the GPAC wrestler of the week. The senior from Spencer, Iowa, has won 11 straight matches.
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