ND state wrestling: West Fargo, Bismarck primed for a rematch in today's semifinals
A rematch featuring the teams from one of the most exciting North Dakota state dual wrestling finals in recent memory is on its way. Defending champion West Fargo and last year's runner-up Bismarck will square off again - this time in the semifin...
A rematch featuring the teams from one of the most exciting North Dakota state dual wrestling finals in recent memory is on its way.
Defending champion West Fargo and last year's runner-up Bismarck will square off again - this time in the semifinals - after both posted big wins during the first round of the Class A state dual tournament Thursday at the Fargodome.
The Packers defeated Turtle Mountain 50-21, and the Demons beat Grand Forks Central 72-3. Fargo South, which beat Dickinson 56-15, and Bismarck Century, a 45-28 winner against Valley City, will meet today in the other dual semifinal. Both matchups begin at noon.
"It was very important," said West Fargo 171-pounder Preston Lehmann, who scored a pin against Briley Crissler in 5 minutes, 23 seconds. "It gets our confidence up early in the tournament so we can put that into our next dual."
West Fargo, the No. 2 seed from the East, wasted little time setting the tone against Turtle Mountain. The Packers picked up wins in eight of the first nine matches to take a big lead.
Anjelo Shepherd (125), Lucas Monson (135), Shelby Schulz (145) and Lehmann (171) each picked up pins for West Fargo.
"The guys responded really well, wrestled tough," Packers coach Kayle Dangerud said. "We're happy to be in the semis."
The Braves made a run of three consecutive wins by Leonard Eller (189), Skylar Poitra (215) and Marcus Laverdure (285) to close the gap slightly.
But the damage was already done.
Bismarck dominated from start to finish, getting pins in 10 matches en route to the runaway win.
"It's a good matchup," said Bismarck junior 160-pounder Kip Jangula. "We wrestled (West Fargo) once this season and ended up winning. Hopefully, we can repeat that."
Last year's state dual final put 10-time defending champion Bismarck against upstart West Fargo. No team other than the Demons had won a dual title since the competition began at the tournament in 2000.
The Packers pulled off a 36-30 win when Lehmann pinned Jangula at 4 minutes, 29 seconds in the 160-pound match.
"No matter who we wrestle, it doesn't matter," Lehmann said. "We just have to keep wrestling hard, leave it all out there."
Fargo South's runaway win against Dickinson surprised longtime head coach Lynn Forde.
Forde, who is retiring as the Bruins head coach after 33 years, said his team was as sharp as it's been all season.
Senior Eric Forde, Lynn's son, started things off with a pin of Bryton Brien in the 119-pound match.
Top-seeded South scored six wins in a row before Midgets 160-pounder Pat Tangen put Dickinson on the board.
The Bruins lost 189-pound junior Ben Burke to a dislocated elbow during the dual. Burke is seeded No. 8 in the individual tournament with a 20-18 record.
Despite the injury, Lynn Forde said he's optimistic about his team's chances against No. 2-seeded Century.
"It's not going to be easy, but we think we have a chance against them," he said. "We would have to have a couple of upsets to beat them. But it happens."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.
Hotzler's blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com