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DHS gymnasts ready to compete

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson sophomore Keana Kudrna performs her uneven bars routine during the Dickinson Invitational on Dec. 13 at the DHS gymnasium.

The Dickinson High gymnastics team competed so long ago, it feels like the last time they competed was last year.

It literally was. The Midgets last competed Dec. 13, nearly a month ago.

However, the gymnastics team isn’t alone in their lack of competition to begin 2014. The Dickinson boys and girls hockey teams are in the same boat.

After events were cancelled or postponed last weekend due weather conditions, the gymnastics team is ready to compete.

“When we are at practice for this long, we kind of lose motivation after a while, because normally at the end of the week we’d have a meet,” said Acacia Fossum, Dickinson sophomore and three-time defending all-around state champion. “But we are thinking in our minds every week like we have a meet at the end of the week. We know the harder we work the stronger we’ll be at the end.”

Head coach Kent Van Ells said nearly four straight weeks of practice with no competition can work both positively and negatively.

“There are negative parts where you want to stay in tip-top shape for competition, but the positives is that some of the them have had some physical problems and the time off allowed them to heal up,” he said. “It was kind of a mixed bag.”

Dickinson will travel to the Jamestown Invitational at 5 p.m. Friday. The Midgets last meet was the Dickinson Invitational. The two meets scheduled for last weekend were Friday in Bismarck and Saturday in Fargo. Both were cancelled.

Fossum said it has been tough to keep the mental edge after not competing for nearly a month, but she knows the team will be ready Friday.

“After Christmas, it was definitely tough,” she said with a laugh. “We all ate a lot and relaxed, but we are ready now.”

Van Ells added: “Several of them have indicated that they are ready to be back.”

Midgets girls work on improving

The Dickinson boys and girls hockey teams have been saddled with same dilemma. The games against Jamestown on Saturday were postponed to Feb. 15.

However, the teams each went into the holiday break with wins. The boys defeated Devils Lake 4-3 and the girls topped Watford City 6-1.

Girls head coach Al Takle said it feels like it been a long since the Midgets have played a game. However, the time hasn’t been wasted. Takle said the team has been working on everything from fundamentals to game-time situations.

“It seems like it has been forever since we played,” he said. “It has been good for us, because we are trying to improve and get better. Over the last three weeks, we haven’t had games, but it has enabled us to work on our fundamentals and to do some other things — grow as a team and know what it means to be part of a team.”

In nine games, the Midgets have amassed more wins than the previous two seasons combined. Dickinson has a record of 3-6 and is 1-6 against statewide competition.

Junior forward Rachel Lantz leads the team with eight points on seven assists and one goal. Sophomore forward Kira Zastoupil had six goals and one assists, while junior forwards Kennadee Fritz and Kayla Wallace each have six points. Fritz has four goals and two assists, while Wallace has supplied five goals and one assist.

The Midgets set their sights on Mandan — a team which they were leading 2-0 before the Braves scored four unanswered goals in the third period — at 5:15 p.m. today at the Dickinson Recreation Center. Dickinson then hosts Minot at 2 p.m. Saturday.

“The game against Mandan is big game for us,” Takle said. “We were up on them going into the third period and ended up losing. With all this work that we’ve put in over these last three weeks, it’s going to be a good gauge for us to see where we are at.”

Midgets host Mandan, Minot

The Dickinson boys closed out the pre-holiday schedule with a 5-5 record and a 2-5 mark in the West Region. Dickinson had a four-game losing skid from Dec. 7 to Dec. 17 but closed out the calendar year with back-to-back wins.

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword having a long Christmas break, but with the way the first half of the season went I think it was a good regroup for us,” Dickinson boys head coach Dallas Kuntz said.

Senior forward Alex Turcotte — who ranks 12th in the state in scoring — leads the Midgets with 18 points on 10 goals and eight assists. Junior forward Matt Pavek follows with 10 assists and seven goals, while Kass Dvorak and Mike McChesney each have 13 points. Dvorak, a junior forward, has eight goals and five assists. McChesney, a sophomore forward, has seven goals and six assists.

The Midgets host West Region opponent Mandan at 7:30 p.m. today. The Braves defeated Dickinson 3-2 on Dec. 12 as Mandan scored the first three goals. Dickinson follows up with a West Region game against Minot at 4 p.m. Saturday.

“The key in the first game against Mandan (was) that the goals they scored were power-play goals,” Kuntz said. “If we can stay out of the penalty box this time around, I’m confident we can control the puck.”

Midgets wrestling on track after rough start to post-holiday season

The Dickinson High wrestling team didn’t fare well in its opening dual after the Christmas break on Friday.

However, the 61-15 dual loss to Sidney, Mont., is no more than a distant memory — especially after a solid performance at the Bismarck Rotary Tournament.

“We did do pretty well at the Rotary,” Dickinson co-head coach Adam Orton said Wednesday. “With it being the middle of the season and the hardest is yet to come, it’s tough to keep their spirits up. But, they had a great practice today with everybody in the room. I think they are going to get more exciting knowing that crunch time is coming.”

As a team, the Midgets finished 14th place as five of its seven wrestlers placed in the top eight. Junior Austin Hutzenbiler, who is ranked No. 2 at 113 pounds, took runner-up in the tournament, falling to No. 1-ranked Nathan Humann of Bismarck Century won in a 5-3 decision in the title match.

Dickinson returns to the West Region portion of its schedule as it hosts Jamestown at 6:30 p.m. today. Orton is confident his team can come away with a win if they wrestle to their abilities.

“We definitely want to win,” Orton said. “We let them slip by us last year. We want to get it off our chest and come back with vengeance this year. We have a good team that we can win if we show up to wrestle.”