‘Win-win situation’The Dickinson High wrestling team has a big week at home.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The Dickinson High wrestling team has a big week at home.
The Midgets, however, aren’t concentrating on the entire week of home duals and the Dickinson Classic, which starts Friday.
Dickinson first and only priority at this time is facing Turtle Mountain at 6:30 p.m. today at the DHS gymnasium.
“We are wrestling a week in our home court,” said Devin Berger, a 132-pound Dickinson junior. “Everyone is fired up about it and we just need to take advantage of it. We need to win here.
“We’ve definitely been physical this season. I feel we can come out and get against Turtle Mountain.”
The dual originally was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., but was bumped back to 6:30. The JV will also start 30 minutes early at 5:30 p.m.
The Midgets season thus far has resulted in three straight West Region dual wins over Minot, Bismarck St. Mary’s and Williston. Dickinson has yet to lose a West Region match and co-head coach Pete Dobitz believes his team is continually getting better each practice.
“We are learning a lot,” Dobitz said. “We have about half and half with experienced and inexperienced kids. The inexperienced kids have been learning really well. I’m happy with junior high and all the way up. On the varsity side, the skills are there, but sometimes the mental part isn’t there.”
Dickinson has many returning state qualifiers including Berger, Austin Hutzenbiler (113), Chris Sickler (220), Michael Cherwinski (160) Jace Dukart (182) and Jaret Lee (113). All share one thing in common — all are underclassmen. The Midgets have two seniors on the team in Jacob Shypkowski (160), who is battling a knee injury, and Michael Dobitz (152).
“I feel like we’ve been wrestling tough,” Hutzenbiler said. “Some matches didn’t go our way, but we’ve been keeping our heads up.”
Where there are some underclassmen performing well, there are more who are learning the ins and outs of competing at the varsity level. One of those wrestlers is eighth-grader Caden Haugen at 106 pounds.
Berger described the inexperienced kids learning from state qualifiers as a ‘win-win situation.’
“The more experienced kids are helping the younger kids,” Berger said. “Caden is an eighth-grader and he’s going to be a dude. Everyone is helping each other in the wrestling room. It’s great for everyone that we have a mix of younger and older guys.”
After the dual with Turtle Mountain, the Midgets turn around and host the two-day Dickinson Classic, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Friday and continues at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with championship matches in the afternoon.
Once the Dickinson Classic is over, the Midgets host Bismarck High and Mandan for their final two home duals of the season. Dickinson faces Bismarck at 6 p.m. next Tuesday and Mandan at 6 p.m. Thursday. The Midgets are then on the road of the rest of the season, including the West Region and North Dakota Class A state tournaments.
“We are going to take it one match at a time and one dual at time,” Pete Dobitz said. “We are focusing on Turtle Mountain and then we’ll talk about the Dickinson Classic.”
The Midgets’ lower weights have earned the brunt of the points this season, but Hutzenbiler said Turtle Mountain comes in with a solid lower weights. Berger might even get a rematch with Terry Lavallie Jr., who defeated him in the state semifinals at 120 pounds last year.
“Our first thought is we need to wrestle a little tougher on our heavier weights,” Hutzenbiler said. “We’ve been doing well this year, but overall we have step up our game.”
Nonetheless, Dickinson is looking to strike up a little bit of momentum against Turtle Mountain.
“We haven’t had a whole lot of success against Turtle Mountain the last couple of years, so some of these guys are wrestling with a little chip on their shoulder,” Pete Dobitz said.