With their season coming to an end, the Minot State University wrestling team finished with a score of 6-9 overall, and a 2-7 conference record. According to senior Dean Arevalo, a wrestler and business management major, this year was not as good as they hoped for, with many wrestlers on the team getting injured about halfway through the season.
“We were projecting to have a really good year, but we had a whole bunch of guys get injured and that affected the way we performed out there,” said Arevalo. “Not having your best guys out there in the lineup takes a toll on the results. The season could have been better, but you can’t control certain things.”
Despite the change of events, Arevalo said there were still positive outcomes from the downfall that helped the team get stronger throughout the season.
“You can always find a positive effect out of everything, even if it's negative,” Arevalo said. “It teaches us that we need to have every guy in there ready to go because you never know when someone is going to get hurt. It left a negative taste in our mouths, but it was a positive insight of what we need to do for the future.”
For Arevalo, the highlights of the season were beating University of Mary and battling against both Upper Iowa University and Augustina University, despite not having all of their top men in those matches. Individually, for Arevalo, securing a spot in the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships was the highlight of his season.
“It's been a dream I’ve had for a long, long time, and after losing the match to make it last year, I hoped to pull it off with my last chance,” said Arevalo. “Although it feels good and everything, it just leaves me more focused on the NCAA. It’s nice, but I got to get back to work right away, and I got to focus on the next thing. I don’t want to walk out without being an All-American.”
Getting to the NCAA championships was not easy for Arevalo, especially in the match to qualify for nationals when everything seemed to be stacked against him.
“My semi’s match was tough because the St. Cloud team really scouts you hard, and I was someone they scouted and were worried about,” said Arevalo. “The wrestler had lost to me 7-3 before, so they were wrestling to stop me from doing what I do. He was able to score a couple of times in positions that I don’t get scored on. It was a grind the whole match, and it came down to me really wanting it. The one thing that's always been hardest for me is wrestling my best when things are on the line. In the past, I would get emotional and shut down, and this time I was able to finally just not worry and just wrestle.”
Despite feeling pressured and as though the odds were stacked against him, Arevalo was still able to stay focused and win the match to qualify for nationals.
“I looked up and I saw my parents in the stands, and I knew what I wanted just because I was so focused. From the second I walked onto the mat, there was no way I was walking off without being an NCAA qualifier. By the end of that match, I knew what I was going to do and it didn’t matter if it went to overtime, I was going to get it done.”
Arevalo hopes to wrestle his best one last time at the NCAA national championship and walk away as a champion.
As for the team next year, Arevalo hopes that many of the guys on the team will continue to work hard the way he did in order to be successful.
“When I was a freshman, I was two and 17. I lost just about every match. I was terrible. A lot of people come in when they’re bad, and they think that they can’t get anywhere. If you have a dream and you work your very hardest every day, it can happen,” Arevalo said.
Arevalo hopes that his legacy will be something that motivates others on the team to continue to work hard no matter what, and see that they will be successful.