MOORHEAD-Minnesota State Moorhead head wrestling coach Kris Nelson was scanning the rankings for the teams that are competing at the NCAA Division II Super Region 3 tournament this weekend.
Nelson counted eight of the 15 teams in his team's region are ranked in the top 25, including No. 1-ranked St. Cloud State and No. 2-ranked Maryville (Mo.).
"It's a tough one. It's a grinder," Nelson said. "We need to rise to the occasion and wrestle the best we have all year."
The Dragons are hosting the region tournament, which runs Friday and Saturday at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.
"I know a lot of people wrestle better at home," Nelson said. "You want to make sure that is not a distraction, too."
Blocks away, Concordia is also home to its regional tournament. The Cobbers are hosting the Division III West Regional on Saturday at Memorial Auditorium. That event features 11 teams, including perennial Division III power Augsburg, which is ranked No. 2 in Division III.
"I think there is an advantage, being able to be at home is nice," Cobbers head coach Phil Moenkedick said. "We will see if it helps us."
The top three wrestlers in each weight class advance to the Division III national tournament. Concordia junior 157-pounder Cole Sladek is expected to advance to the national tournament based on his national ranking. Moenkedick said sophomore Ty Johnson (149), junior Jake Johnson (174), junior Ricky Briggs (184) and senior Justice Davis (285) are other Concordia wrestlers who are in contention to be national qualifiers.
"We have three solid (wrestlers) that should get through," Moenkedick said. "I don't seen any weight class where we can't qualify."
Sladek is ranked No. 6 in D-III at 157 pounds. Davis is ranked No. 7 at 285. Sladek started his career North Dakota State before transferring to Concordia.
"He's found a home here," Moenkedick said of Sladek, who is from St. Michael, Minn. "He's probably got a Division I skill set."
At the D-II Super Region 3 tournament, the top four in each weight division advance to the national tournament. Dragons senior Blake Bosch (26-1) is ranked No. 2 in D-II at 133 pounds. Bosch is a two-time All-American.
"It will be nice to see Blake get a chance to wrestle in front of his home crowd," Nelson said. "His goal is to be a regional champion and a national champion."
Nelson said sophomore Kristian Vazquez (141), sophomore Adam Blees (174) and senior Nader Abdullatif are among the Dragons' other best chances to qualify for nationals.
"On paper, they would only have us taking one," Nelson said of national qualifiers. "If we can get around four that would be a really great tournament for us. We're going to have to wrestle to our ability and have some upsets."