The past couple weeks have been physically challenging for Concordia College in Moorhead wrestler Chris Harrison as he suffered a concussion two weeks ago and then was forced to take an injury forfeit after a sprained ankle in a match Saturday, Dec. 21.
But, despite the recent setbacks, the 2011 Pequot Lakes graduate and former Road Crew high school wrestler is enjoying a successful wrestling career with the Cobbers.
“I’m definitely happy,” Harrison said Sunday, Dec. 22, while riding a charter bus back from the Gator Duals tournament in Nashville, Tenn., where he won two of three matches before suffering a sprained ankle and forfeiting his final match. “I should be OK for our next match (Jan. 4).”
Harrison has reason to smile about his career. After finishing sixth at the West Region tournament as a freshman and fifth as a sophomore, the 184-pound wrestler has a goal to improve his regional finish and advance to the Division III national meet.
“Chris has the potential to qualify for the NCAA Division III National tournament, and in my mind become an All-American,” said Concordia coach Matt Nagel. “He is the only wrestler on our team right now with two individual tournament championships — the Dragon (Moorhead) Open and the Cobber Open (the past two months).”
Harrison is off to his best college start as one of Concordia’s leaders in victories with a 15-4 individual record.
“Chris is one of the hardest workers in the room, and he leads by example,” Nagel said. “He’s not only consistent with his training for wrestling, but he is consistent with his academics.
“He has improved so much since he has come to Concordia. His freshman year he took his lumps, but just kept on working, and his sophomore year he found his way into the starting lineup.”
Harrison, a two-time state wrestling individual qualifier with the Road Crew, said Nagel is a quality coach who was successful competing at the Minnesota State High School League state meet.
“He was a five-time state champion at Frazee,” said Harrison, a chemistry major who plans to attend pharmacy school. “He’s a good coach. We work more on the basic (wrestling skills) in college.”
Concordia is 5-2-1 overall and ranked No. 9 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association poll. Harrison planned to return home over the holidays and attend a practice for the Road Crew. His brother, Joe, is a member of the Road Crew while two other brothers, Nic and Peter, are former wrestlers with the team.
Holiday break updates
A handful of Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus athletes are home over the holiday break. Following is an update on how their college basketball seasons are progressing:
Junior guard Kylie Beltz is leading the Curry College (Massachusetts) women’s basketball team in scoring with a 15.1 average after seven games. The 2011 Pequot Lakes graduate is also first with 4.0 assists and second with 5.4 rebounds. Last year, Beltz was chosen team MVP after leading the team with 13.1 points. The nursing major was All-Commonwealth Coast Conference honorable mention and CCC All-Academic last season.
Pequot Lakes graduates Mattie and Emily Lueck have helped the College of St. Benedict women’s basketball team start the season with a 5-3 record. Mattie, a 6-foot sophomore forward, has started all eight games and is fourth on the team with a 9.9-point scoring average, third with 4.6 rebounds and second with nine blocks. Emily, a junior wing, has come off the bench in seven games and is averaging 6.0 points and 1.6 rebounds.
Tatum Sheley has started eight of 10 games as a freshman guard for the Bemidji State University women’s basketball team, which is off to a 6-4 start. The PR-B graduate is fourth in scoring with a 10.3 average and fourth in rebounds at 4.1. Sheley is also third in assists and steals.
Another 2013 PR-B graduate, forward Autumn Ackerman, is averaging 2.1 points and 2.0 rebounds for the University of Wisconsin-Superior women’s basketball team, which is 4-4 overall.
Pequot Lakes graduate Kurtis Moody continues to lead the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men’s basketball team in rebounding with a 7.0 average. The sophomore forward is also third with 11.9 points for the Blugolds, who are 5-5 overall.