SIOUX CITY – Bo Bettinson led the Waldorf College men's wrestling team, claiming runner-up honors at 125 pounds in Saturday's Briar Cliff Open.
Bettinson, ranked No. 15 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll, won three of four matches in the tournament.
"He just kept progressing throughout the day," Waldorf coach Brad Stockton said.
Coming off a first-round bye, Bettinson (11-6) scored a 9-5 decision over Dickinson State University's Brice Gorsline. The three-time national qualifier and senior from Reno, Nev. continued his march in the tournament, dominating Morningside College's Cole Milles in a 13-5 major decision.
Bettinson, who competed in his first tournament since December, secured an 11-7 decision over William Penn University's Khalil Williams in the semifinal. It was a hard-fought victory against an athletic opponent.
"He went out, stayed in good position, attacked and did what he needed to," Stockton said.
Grand View University's Tristan Bundy was challenged by Bettinson in the championship match. He was edged in a 3-1 decision by Bundy, who was a former National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American before he joined the Vikings.
"He wrestled tough throughout the day," Stockton said. "Now, he needs to progress in Wednesday's dual and throughout the rest of the year."
Junior Angel Gomez (285 pounds) placed fourth for the Warriors, finishing with a 4-2 tournament record while battling through an injury.
"He's been a little dinged up, but he still put together a decent performance," Stockton said.
Angel Gomez (15-7) is currently ranked No. 16 and started off with a 6-3 decision over Midland University's James Jones. He took a 6-2 decision from William Penn's Skip Conner in the second round and won a 3-2 decision over Missouri Baptist University's Luis Contreras in the quarterfinal bout.
Briar Cliff University's Brian Ervin held off Angel Gomez in a 3-2 decision in the semifinals.
Angel Gomez bounced back, claiming a 4-2 decision over South Dakota State University's Alex Macki in a consolation semifinal. He had next to no time to catch his breath between matches, heading directly to tournament's second gym for a third-place showdown with Grand View's seventh-ranked Dean Broghammer. Broghammer came away with an 8-0 major decision.
"He still wrestled well," Stockton said. "I'd like to see that match again. If everything works out right, the only time they'd meet up is at the national tournament."
Waldorf junior D'Monte Aursby (165) won three of his five matchups. He earned an 11-6 decision over Morningside's Drake Swedlund, controlled Northwestern College's Jason Swets in an 11-1 major decision and rolled to his third straight win by topping the University of Nebraska's Austin Chauncey in a quarterfinal bout with an 11-5 decision.
"He looked really good as well," Stockton said. "There are just some minor things that we need to fix."
Aursby (10-6) fell short to Grand View's Nate Stadeker, losing a 2-1 decision in the semifinals. The University of Jamestown's seventh-ranked Michael Nord ended Aursby's day, pinning him in a consolation semifinal.
Junior James Gomez (174) posted two wins for the Warriors while wrestling in four matches.
"He just kept working and coming back," Stockton said. "He stayed in good position and stayed offensive. He went out to compete."
James Gomez (6-4) won by fall over Wayne State University's Ty Heinert before losing an 11-6 decision to Northwestern's Nick Null in the second round.
Getting back on track, James Gomez picked up his second pin of the day over Northwestern's John Lynch in a second-round consolation matchup. Briar Cliff's Curtis Bright held on for a 10-7 decision over James Gomez in the third round of the consolation bracket.
Becker (2-7) won by fall over Northwestern's David Trucksess. He then lost a 6-2 decision to William Penn's Johnny Hopper and was defeated by Swedlund in an 8-0 major decision.
Pinedo (4-6) was pinned by Broghammer in his first match. He responded with a fall over William Penn's Zaid Abdellatif. Briar Cliff's Corbin Cooke took a 10-0 major decision over Pinedo in a second-round consolation match.
Sophomore Nathan Guillermo (149) also competed for the Warriors. Guillermo (1-6) lost by fall to Midland's Tyler Willis in the first round and then was defeated by Dickinson State's Pat Tangen in a 10-2 major decision during a first-round consolation bout.
Waldorf (1-5) hosts Northwestern College (4-7) in Wednesday's 7 p.m. dual meet. Both teams are receiving votes in the NAIA poll.
The Briar Cliff Open served as a tune-up for the Warriors as they prepare for the NAIA North Qualifier on Feb. 21 at York, Neb.
"It was a good tournament to get the guys back on track," Stockton said. "Now, we've got to get ready and focus on Wednesday. We're looking forward to competing in the last home competition to prepare for the postseason."