Patrick West and Christian Bagdadi will bring an Everett flair to the Dakota Wesleyan University wrestling room next season.
West, a 2017 Everett High graduate, will rejoin his former teammate Bagdadi as a member of the Tigers and compete for the NAIA program located in Mitchell, South Dakota.
Dakota Wesleyan and head coach Nick Hutcheson announced the Tigers’ 10-member recruiting class on their website Tuesday.
Bagdadi was included in Tuesday’s announcement even though he has been at DWU since January after transferring from Southern Oregon University, another NAIA school.
Bagdadi, who graduated from Everett in 2015, never competed for SOU and will have four years of eligibility at DWU. He placed fourth at 152 pounds at Mat Classic as a senior.
The Tigers’ interest in West — who finished fourth at state as a senior and eighth as a junior — dates back to April, when Hutcheson tried to get Everett coach Brien Elliott’s entire six-man senior class to come to DWU.
The Tigers’ roster needed to be replenished after an offseason of high turnover, and Elliott has always been a strong advocate for his athletes.
“We’ve built a very strong reputation among college programs as having kids that graduate with high grade-point averages since the early 2000s,” Elliott said. “Each year, we send out a recruiting e-mail to a bunch of coaches telling them about our seniors and who we have available.”
As it turned out, only West will be joining Bagdadi at DWU, but two other members of Everett’s 2017 senior class will continue their wrestling careers at the collegiate level.
Jessey Moe will be competing at Alderson Broaddus, an NCAA Division II program in Philippi, West Virginia, and Zaelyn Bell is headed to Division III University of Dubuque (Iowa).
Another former Seagull, Jessie Lopez, will be a senior at Division III Wilkes University in Pennsylvania.
West said that having Bagdadi already on campus eased his mind about not making the nearly 1,500-mile trip to Mitchell to visit.
“I’ve heard it’s a nice, little town,” he said in April, before the Seagulls’ postseason banquet. “Small, but not too out in the middle of nowhere.”
As is often the case with lower-level programs, Hutcheson offered West a scholarship without having seen him wrestle live, only on video.
That was enough to convince him that West, who’ll wrestle at 157 pounds in college, will be an asset for the Tigers.
“When we’re recruiting, we look at a lot of different things — the most obvious is talent,” Hutcheson said. “But we also look at kids and can tell that if they put a little work in, they could be successful. It’s a four-year process.”
Hutcheson added that Bagdadi was a valuable emissary for the DWU program.
“I think that’s definitely been beneficial for us,” he said. “Not everyone can come out and take visits, and Christian has been able to tell Patrick what campus is like, what the coaches are like and what the guys on the team are like.”
According to Elliott, Bagdadi has been so impressive in the Tigers’ practice room that Hutcheson was eager to add more wrestlers from the Seagulls program.
“I’ve heard that Christian beats everyone in that room, including the coaches,” Elliott said. “We were trying to get all of our seniors there, but they (DWU) just wasn’t in a position to offer as much money as other places.”
West is looking forward to the stakes ratcheting up in collegiate competition.
“I’m excited for college wrestling,” he said. “The intensity is a lot higher, and it’s a big jump from high school. I’m excited to focus on technique a little bit more.”