Midgets bring 15 to state tourneyThe Dickinson High wrestling team is headed to the state tournament with the largest number of qualifiers in Bruce Heppner’s 10 years on the team’s coaching staff.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The Dickinson High wrestling team is headed to the state tournament with the largest number of qualifiers in Bruce Heppner’s 10 years on the team’s coaching staff.
The Midgets have 15 wrestlers traveling east on Interstate 94 for the Class A state tournament that begins today at the Bismarck Civic Center.
“Coach said that’s the most he’s ever had coaching,” Dickinson sophomore Devin Berger said. “Two years ago it was 13 and now we broke that record. Coach is pretty happy.”
Dickinson’s trip to the state tournament is led by senior Alec Lindsey at 138 pounds. He is the team’s only senior qualified this year.
Two of Lindsey’s friends and longtime teammates, Jade Dirk and Thomas McCarty, won’t be competing at state. Lindsey said it was tough to see Dirk and McCarty not finish out their senior careers at state.
“It’s definitely really tough to handle, because they’ve been working hard all year and they just got some tough breaks,” Lindsey said. “They dealt with it pretty well, but it’s just tough.”
Lindsey is the No. 6 seed at state with a 33-11 record. The senior from the South Heart knows he has his work cut out for him.
“He’s focused right now and he’s wrestling tough,” said Heppner, who is in his first season as head coach. “He’s been to state for us three years now and he’s got to wrestle match by match.”
The biggest change Lindsey made this season was his conditioning. With one senior wrestler, Lindsey will be expected to take on a big leadership role for the Dickinson wrestlers.
“With your senior, you want him to finish as high as he can, because it’s his last season,” Heppner said. “He put a lot of time into this sport and this team. He’s been there before. He has to stay relaxed and then take the young pups underneath his wing.”
Midgets have a number of young wrestlers
Of the 15 wrestlers the Midgets are taking to the state tournament, 10 are sophomores or younger.
They include sophomores Devin Berger, Michael Cherwinski, Jace Dukart and Chris Sickler.
“I’ve been telling everybody that in two years we are going to really good,” Berger said. “If we keep the team that we have and everyone stays out of trouble. We are going to do some damage at the state tournament and be a really good team.”
The freshmen are Austin Hutzenbiler (106), Dillon Clark (132), Clayton Tangen (145) and Jacob Brooke (195). The three eighth-graders are Jaret Lee (113), Bryton Brien (126) and Ashton Schatz (285).
“We took a lot of the young guys down to the team camp and they’ve been putting in the time in the offseason,” Heppner said. “To get the varsity experience early on is important. Now when they go in a year older and they have the experience at the big stage, they can go out there and wrestle.”
Despite this being Lindsey’s last season, he is very excited to see the future growth for the Midgets wrestling team.
“It’s really good having some young guys going to state,” Lindsey said. “The next couple years there will be some pretty high expectations for the state tournament.”
The unattached wrestlers at the state tournament
With the number of state tournament wrestlers, Dickinson has multiple wrestlers competing unattached.
“It’s pretty good,” Lindsey said. “We are pretty fortunate and everyone wrestled really hard at regionals. I think we can get some placers in a couple of them.”
The Midgets have three unattached wrestlers headed to the state tournament, juniors Ryder Peterson (138), Jacob Shypkowski (145) and Michael Dobitz (152).
“It’s nice, because it makes the guys that are scoring the points tougher,” Heppner said. “We’ve got too many guys at the same weight and we’ve got to spread them out as much as we can.”
Heppner said his team is ready for the final tournament of the season.
“We are going to set our sights high and try to get 15 placers,” Heppner said. “That’s going to be a lot. That’s going to be a handful, but the boys are going in there prepared.”