Elkins, 3 Killdeer wrestlers reach Class B semifinalsThe Killdeer and Hettinger-Scranton wrestling teams had their ups and downs, but saw solid production throughout the first day of the Class B state tournament.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The Killdeer and Hettinger-Scranton wrestling teams had their ups and downs, but saw solid production throughout the first day of the Class B state tournament.
The Cowboys are currently seventh in team scores with 41 points and reached the semifinals of the Class B state dual tournament Thursday at the Bismarck Civic Center.
The team leading the way after the first day is Lisbon with 72.5 points, while Carrington has 61 and Oakes rounding out the top three with 61.
Killdeer sent six wrestlers to the quarterfinals. The biggest match in the opening round was at 132 pounds where senior Jerad Lee-Gay defeated Larimore’s Wyatt Morten in a 3-2 decision. Morten wasn’t a top-eight ranked wrestler but had an overall record of 30-4 coming into the state tournament.
“We went 4-for-6 on the quarterfinals and we lost a couple that we thought we could win,” Killdeer head coach Shane Olson said. “It slowed our momentum a little bit, but we were proud of our dual win.”
The importance of the dual win was the lowest place Killdeer can get is fourth. For the past two seasons, the Cowboys placed fifth in duals and senior semifinalist River Voigt (152) said it’s a great feeling to move into the winner’s bracket. Killdeer defeated North Border-Cavalier 46-33 in the opening round of the dual tournament.
“That was really nice,” Voigt said. “We’ve got a pretty big group of seniors and we’ve finished fifth the last two years in the duals and now we’ve secured at least a fourth, so we were pretty excited about that.”
Along with Lee-Gay, Nos. 2 seeds Hunter Fredricks (138) and Logan Schaper (120) are headed into the semifinal matches. Lee-Gay defeated a familiar opponent from Hettinger-Scranton’s Christian Hughes in an 11-8 decision in the quarterfinals.
“I was real proud of Christian there,” Hettinger-Scranton head coach Randy Burwick said. “I thought he wrestled him very well and was disappointed that he didn’t make the semifinals, but that’s a tough quarter draw there.”
The Nights Hawks managed to get four wrestlers in the quarterfinals, but only senior Sean Elkins (138) was able to make it to the semifinals. Elkins is a returning state champion. Joining him in the quarterfinals were Codi Tomac (120), Hughes (132) and Rodney VanHoff (145).
“I thought we wrestled, but I don’t think that we prepared as well as we should have,” Burwick said. “You are away from your guys so much. You can’t police them and make sure that they are ready to go. They have to do better job of that.”
Elkins isn’t feeling any nerves stepping into the semifinals match because the senior has been to this point four times in his career.
“It’s just another tournament,” Elkins said. “I just have to go out there and do my stuff like it’s a normal match.”
Hettinger-Scranton didn’t have the same luck in the dual tournament. The Night Hawks had three open weights class, which put them at a disadvantage. Despite that fact, Hettinger-Scranton kept up with Velva before falling 39-31.
“We think that we can compete with anyone,” Elkins said. “That’s just our mentality. We’ve always had success, we want to keep doing it and we won’t take no for an answer.”
The Cowboys who were victims of defeat in the quarterfinals were senior Lane Oversen (182) and eighth-grader T.J. Moore (285). Oversen suffered his first pin of the season to Lisbon sophomore Joe Nelson at 5 minutes, 54 seconds. The senior has only lost two matches this season.
“Those close battles like that,” “He wrestled pretty hard, but just got caught for a five-point move there. We were in pretty good control, we just got caught for five.”
Moore’s knee twisted while falling to the mat. Once he hit the ground, he was grabbing his knee and yelling out in pain. However after the injury timeout, Moore got back out on the mat, but winced every step. The eighth-grader was pinned by Jeremy Talamantes from Grafton in 4:44.
“He’s a warrior,” Olson said. “His heart is completely in wrestling and he’s by far a superior wrestler, but when he hit the mat, his knee cap moved out to side.”
Though the Night Hawks only have one wrestler in the semifinals, Burwick said the true test of character will come during wrestlebacks that start at 10 a.m.
“We have four seeded kids and we won all four matches in the first round,” Burwick said. “I wanted a couple into the semifinals, but we only got one. We have to come back and score a lot of points in the wrestle backs.”
The Cowboys have plenty of leadership to go around and Voigt said that was a valuable asset heading into the second day.
“I think it’s a big part, because it helps the younger guys see what the state tournament is all about,” Voigt said. “Now they’ll know what to expect for next and there’s only going to one senior next year.”