Maintaining concentration: Dickinson High prepares for West Region dual against Williston, 2-day Dickinson Classic
A week-long break can have many pros and cons.
The No. 5-ranked Midgets face Williston in a West Region dual at 7 p.m. today and follow that up with the two-day Dickinson Classic beginning at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
“With the time off last week, we had time to focus on the Williston dual and the Classic, so they were able to prepare for that mentally,” Orton said. “We should be ready to go as long as we are staying confident.
“It’s better to do the breaks earlier rather than later when it is crunch time.”
Dickinson’s last competition was during the Mandan Lions Tournament on Dec. 7 and 8. In the tournament, junior Austin Hutzenbiler finished runner-up at 113 pounds, while sophomore Jaret Lee took third. Hutzenbiler and Lee (120) are both ranked second in Class A in their respective weight classes.
Junior Clayton Tangen placed fourth and senior Devin Berger rounded out Dickinson’s four placers in fifth. Berger is ranked third at 132 pounds while Tangen is the fifth at 152.
Lee said the Midgets have high expectations entering the season. They return a majority of a team that placed fourth in the Class A state team duals and had six individual state placers.
“We know what we can do,” Lee said. “We are expecting more than what we did last year.”
However, there’s nothing like competing at home. The Midgets are 3-0 in West Region duals, but have only competed at home once this season.
“You always want to do well in front of the home crowd,” Berger said. “You want that fire in your eyes.”
Though Dickinson has picked up West Region dual wins against Mandan, Minot and Bismarck St. Mary’s, the team isn’t looking past anyone in the region.
Berger, who along with Chris Sickler, Michael Cherwinski and Matt Berg are the senior leaders on the team, is getting the team to focus on the task at hand instead of looking too far into the future.
“We can’t underestimate (Williston),” Berger said. “We have to go out in full force. We have to go out there with our heads up and make every match count. I know a lot of people are already looking toward break, but we have to focus on the dual and then we have to focus on the tournament after the dual. After the tournament, we can think about the break.”
Dickinson junior Dillon Clark added: “Every West Region dual is important and the duals against Williston are usually pretty close. We can go into any dual overlooking anyone.”
Orton said his first year as head coach has been very different. However, he’s happy to have last season’s co-head coaches Pete Dobitz and Cody Wolf by his side as assistants.
“It’s definitely an eye-opener,” Orton said. “Instead of just being around in practice and going to the meets, you are contacting the other coaches, getting paperwork done and it much more hectic. I’m glad to have Dobitz and Wolf that can help me out all the time.”