Midgets trying to punch tickets to stateThe West Region tournament is just another tournament for the Dickinson High wrestling team, except this one contains the greatest prize — tickets to the Class A state tournament.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The West Region tournament is just another tournament for the Dickinson High wrestling team, except this one contains the greatest prize — tickets to the Class A state tournament.
The Midgets have been through many tournaments this season and head coach Bruce Heppner said his team is going in with the mindset of getting everyone qualified for state when the tournament begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in Jamestown.
“The nice thing is we are going with a full lineup,” Heppner said. “We picked up 17 kids, so we’re going in there with no open weights.”
Open weights have plagued Dickinson this season. The Midgets went through a majority of the year without a heavyweight before they finally found Ashton Schatz. The eighth-grader was approached on Jan. 31 for the heavyweight spot.
“Unfortunately we haven’t had a heavyweight all year and two days prior (to the Mandan dual) I asked him if he wanted to go heavyweight,” Heppner said. “He answered yes right away.”
Dickinson’s Devin Berger is the No. 3-ranked wrestler at 120 pounds and he might have one of the toughest roads at the region tournament.
“I know I’ve got the No. 2 kid in the state and the No. 4 kid in the state,” Berger said. “I’ve been going with Lindsey and a whole bunch of people bigger than me to get ready. I definitely want to win it.”
During the team’s final dual this season against Jamestown, the Midgets won 43-31 and had multiple wrestlers in higher weight classes. However, Heppner plans to keep a majority of the wrestlers at the weights they’ve been at. Two guys who will be changing weight classes are freshman Jacob Brooke (195) and eighth-grader Jaret Lee (113).
“Most of the guys are where they are at for the season,” Heppner said. “We are moving a couple guys around to get them into regionals.”
Despite some wrestlers moving up a weight, freshman Austin Hutzenbiler expects it to be good for the future.
“We have some guys bumping up weight classes just to get experience,” Hutzenbiler said. “It’s going to help us out this year and lead us on to next year.”
Senior captain Alec Lindsey said the Midgets’ preparation throughout the season has made them ready for Saturday.
“It all starts at the beginning of the year,” Lindsey said. “You are just building up and building up. Then you hopefully peak at the end of the year at state and that’s where you usually want to peak at.”
Lindsey and junior Ryder Peterson are the two returning wrestlers with state tournament experience and they know what it takes to win at a high level.
“After wrestling with the guys in the room and at tournaments, I know they have a lot of talent, and as long as they go out there with motivation and the mindset that they can win, they have a really good shot,” Lindsey said. “I know they will go out, and if they do their best I know they will qualify.”
Heppner said there are three seasons throughout the wrestling year and Dickinson is embarking on the final season.
“It’s been a good couple weeks of practice,” Heppner said. “I told the guys we are in our third season of the year — tournament season. We’ve got one tournament left to punch their ticket to state.”