The Concordia College-Moorhead wrestling team has a local flavor with two former Road Crew members, Nick Gravdahl and Addy (Addisuone) Harrington, on its squad this season.
Gravdahl, a senior at Concordia, currently is tied for the second-most wins on the team with a 25-12 record at 174 pounds. Harrington, a freshman, has won six matches as a part-time contributor at 125.
"I didn't expect to see one of my old teammates," Gravdahl said of Harrington's addition to the Cobbers. "Addy came (to Concordia) for track, and started hanging out with the wrestlers. I'm glad he joined. It has been fun."
Harrington has also enjoyed the experience.
"It's cool to be wrestling with Nick," said Harrington, who wrestled varsity one year with Gravdahl. "Nick said if you're interested (in wrestling) then come to practice. It has been a great experience. We sometimes hang out with teammates after practice."
Travis Hoffarth, who coached both wrestlers with the Road Crew, isn't surprised by their college success.
"Both kids took different paths," he said. "Nick was wrestling from an early age, first going through the elementary program and then having success with the Road Crew. Addisuone didn't touch a wrestling mat until junior high, but showed some natural mat awareness and turned into a successful wrestler in a short period of time. Both of them were tremendous leaders on and off the mat.
"Nick and Addisuone really did a lot for our program when they competed for us, and they continue to help us even after graduation. We still talk about them, and show some of their successful techniques in the (practice) room."
Following is a look at both of their college wrestling careers:
As a full-time starter last year as a junior, Gravdahl finished 12-10 overall. The biggest key to his improvement this season is his move down one weight class after competing at 184.
"I'm also figuring things out this season," he said. "It started to click in my head that I've been here longer than others (as a senior). I started trusting what the coaches have been teaching us."
Gravdahl said his goal is to be a national qualifier, which means a top-three finish at the NCAA Upper Midwest Regionals Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23, in Eau Claire, Wis.
"Nick is a great young man to have in the program," said Phil Moenkedick, Concordia head coach. "His effort and attitude are always going to be great. Nick's greatest attribute is that he is selfless. He is always willing to do whatever we ask of him as coaches without hesitation or complaint. He's a great teammate and is a 'nose to the grindstone' type kid who has worked his way into being one of our most consistent and best guys in the lineup."
Gravdahl has also been a key wrestler in helping Concordia compile a 8-3 dual meet record and a No. 20 ranking in the NWCA Division III poll.
"I knew we had a decent team this year, but we're still pretty young, and I didn't expect we would be ranked. It's really something to see us in the national rankings."
In high school, Gravdahl was on the Road Crew's state tournament team in 2013-14, and then placed sixth as an individual at state the following year as a senior.
Moenkedick said Harrington has been a pleasant surprise for the Cobbers.
"He came in one day to ask if he could look into wrestling," the coach explained. "I told him I was open to it as long as he worked hard and was committed. And he has done that. He has a ways to go on the wrestling side of things, but he's a talented young man who could be a contributor if he dives all in and holds himself accountable. He has been a great addition to our lower weights."
Harrington has compiled a 6-13 record while mostly competing in open tournaments at 125 pounds.
"Everyone is a lot stronger," Harrington said in comparing college wrestling to high school. "That's the key difference."
Harrington qualified for state in high school track, but didn't make it to state as a wrestler.
"In three years (Harrington) did everything he could to improve, and was consistently one of the hardest workers over those years," Hoffarth said. "Although he didn't reach state, he was always knocking on the door by placing third, fifth and fourth at sections (as a sophomore, junior and senior)."
Nick Gravdahl, on left in photo from a recent match, is a former Road Crew wrestler who is currently second on the Concordia-Moorhead wrestling team with 25 wins. (Submitted photo)