Cowboys, Night Hawks set for Region 4 tourneyThe Region 4 wrestling tournament is the individuals’ chance to reach the Class B state tournament, but not without going through a few obstacles.
The Region 4 wrestling tournament is the individuals’ chance to reach the Class B state tournament, but not without going through a few obstacles.
The Killdeer Cowboys are the returning region champions and host the Region 4 tournament at 10 a.m. Saturday. The Cowboys do so with a healthy squad and a great amount of senior leadership.
“I guess we are expecting the guys to step up and win the tournament so we can have back-to-back region titles,” Killdeer head coach Shane Olson said. “We have quite a few pretty high-seeded wrestlers going into it.”
Despite the Cowboys being the favorites to win another region championship, Olson said his team is just preparing for it as if it were another tournament.
“We’ve been taking it just one day at a time,” he said. “We are just focusing on getting everybody qualified or as many as we can for the state tournament.”
The teams making to trip to Region 4 tournament are from Hettinger-Scranton, Beach, Bowman County, New Salem-Almont, Standing Rock, Watford City and Hazen-Beulah.
Hettinger-Scranton head coach Randy Burwick said the rest of the teams are battling for runner-up.
“The goal is to get as many qualified as you can,” Burwick said. “It’s going to be a dogfight. Right now, I think Killdeer is pretty much the clear-cut favorite to win the region.”
This week has been especially tough on the wrestlers from Hettinger-Scranton after the death of Calvin Steeke, the 4-year-old brother of eighth-grader Colbey Steeke and assistant coach Trevor Steeke, it’s going to be an emotional tournament for the Night Hawks.
“We kind of had a heartbreak here,” Burwick said. “We are going to be wrestling with heavy hearts. I think the boys are wrestling for Calvin.”
Burwick knows that doing that will be a challenge, but he think his wrestlers will rise to the occasion.
“Hopefully we will see the best effort from our boys,” he said. “I think you will see that. Hopefully we can muster up the strength and courage to do the best we can.”
The Cowboys, meanwhile, are excited about hosting the Region 4 tournament. Olson said the home crowd should give his wrestlers a little extra push.
“We just want to have a good showing for the fans and I know the kids are pretty pumped,” Olson said.
Killdeer’s Lane Overseen is the No. 1-ranked wrestler at 182 pounds. The senior is 33-0 this season and has already defeated some of the best wrestlers in the state.
The Cowboys are also excited about the return of Grady Houghton, a state runner-up last year. Though he has been out the whole season because of an ACL injury, Olson said Houghton is ready for tournament time.
“He’ll be seeded No. 1 in the region, because he’s coming back from being a state runner-up,” Olson said. “He doesn’t have any mat time, so that might be a drawback. He’s been in varsity wrestling for many years, so it won’t be anything new to him.”
The Night Hawks have already accomplished one goal this season and now it’s all about individual efforts. Hettinger-Scranton is 11-3 in duals this season and, along with Killdeer, is already qualified for the Class B state dual tournament.
“Obviously we’re always stuck a little bit, because we are open at three weight classes, but we kind of work around that,” Burwick said.
Despite some wrestlers coming into the tournament as underdogs, Burwick said there are always upsets at these tournaments.
“I’ve been coaching for 27 years and it never fails,” Burwick said. “Somebody that’s supposed to make it is staying at home. We don’t want to be in that situation.”