Night Hawks coach Burwick eyeing 400th dual winWrestling has given Randy Burwick plenty of memories.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Wrestling has given Randy Burwick plenty of memories.
He was a national champion for Dickinson State in 1985, helped coach 17 North Dakota state champions, three team state championships and one dual state title. Now, he’s nearing 400 career dual wins.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have good wrestlers, good kids and great community support,” said Burwick, the 23-year head coach in Hettinger. “I feel real blessed to have coached this long in one place. It’s been quite a ride.”
During his tenure as the head coach, Burwick was named Class B Coach of the Year in 2000 and produced two Mr. Wrestlers with Kayle Dangerud in 1997 and Dusty Vliem in 2005.
“The tradition of Hettinger wrestling is strong,” Burwick said. “It’s been strong for a long time. The kids that come into the program are willing to step up and put their nose to the grindstone. For me, the most gratifying thing is to see those kids go out and give 100 percent effort. I’m proud of the fact we get the kids to believe in themselves and the team.”
Burwick has been the head coach for Hettinger-Scranton since the two schools started their co-op last year and was the head coach of the Hettinger Black Devils for 21 years.
“Coaching down here has been absolutely great,” Burwick said. “I’ve coached a bunch of wonderful kids.”
Of all the memories that stick out in the last 23 years, however, it was a single, inconsequential home win by a senior wrestler that had the feeling of a state title match.
After three-and-a-half years of coming up winless at duals and various tournaments, Burwick said the fourth-year wrestler finally won a home match. When it happened, he said the Hettinger gym erupted with excitement and the senior was hoisted on his teammate’s shoulders and carried off the mat.
“For the first three-and-a-half years, he never won a single wrestling match, but he never missed a single wrestling practice,” Burwick said. “He was in the practice room trying to make someone better. When he finally won his first match when he was a senior, it was like he won the state championship.
“I tell the guys all the time. There are so many different levels of success in wrestling. That one night when he won that one match, the place erupted.”
Burwick’s team this year consists of handful of underclassmen. He said it has been a season of learning when to be patient and when to be aggressive. Nonetheless, it’s been an exciting season thus far.
“We’re young, but I couldn’t be happier with how they are doing,” Burwick said. “We’ve improved by leaps and bounds. We’re learning on the go a little bit.
“I’ve got a group of kids that are tough and they don’t like to lose. They don’t want to play second fiddle. They don’t want to be in the back seat, they want to be in the front seat.”
DHS boys basketball looks to get back on track
The Dickinson High boys basketball team suffered its worst and most lopsided loss of the season, 71-44, to Bismarck High last Friday.
The Midgets aren’t going to dwell on the past. They’re looking forward to hosting Turtle Mountain in a West Region game at 7:30 p.m. this Friday.
“We’ve got to come in as prepared for Turtle Mountain as if Bismarck High was coming in,” Dickinson head coach John Wilson said. “Turtle Mountain has gotten us here the last couple years.”
Though Turtle Mountain is winless overall and in West Region games (0-10 and 0-8), Dickinson isn’t taking its opponent lightly.
“They don’t have a win in WDA or nonconference to this point, but they are going to come in as confident as can be against us,” Wilson said.
Two players who Wilson is looking to make more of an impact are junior guard Dylan Skabo and sophomore guard Mark Erickson. Skabo averages 4.7 points and 2.7 steals per game, while Erickson supplies 5.9 points.
“We probably need them to be more penetrate-and-kick type of kids,” Wilson said.
Senior post Jordan Krieg leads the Midgets, averaging 16.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, while his post partner, junior Levi Jordheim, averages 6.2 and 5.6.
“If you have a kid like Levi, who plays so hard offensively and defensively, you are never really out of a rebound,” Wilson said. “That’s the one thing we want Levi to do is rebound extremely hard.”
Jaden Kudrna, a senior guard, averages 12.7 points per game, but had his highest point total of 18 in Turtle Mountain on Dec. 15.
The Midgets will face the likes of junior Tristan Keplin, who averages 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, and junior guard Jalen Jeanotte. He adds 10.6 points a night.
Dickinson High gymnasts gaining confidence
The injury bug surrounding the Dickinson High gymnastics team has been well documented.
However, the Midgets are hoping to have everyone back and competing in at least one event — for the first time this season — during the Fern Pokorny Invitational at 1 p.m. Saturday at DHS gymnasium.
“This weekend I hope and expect everyone to compete at least on something,” Dickinson head coach Kent Van Ells said. “It would be the first time that we’ve had that all year, if it works out.”
Dickinson’s freshman two-time defending state all-around champion Acacia Fossum competed in her first event since the Christmas break this past weekend in Rapid City, S.D., where she won the balance beam. Junior Mikaela Kessel also hopes to compete this weekend after suffering a concussion on the uneven bars in Fargo on Jan. 5. The Midgets’ good news of the week came when they learned x-rays were negative on sophomore Jill Mueller’s tibia, which she injured during warm-ups in Rapid City.
Van Ells said the injuries in the middle of the season could turn out to be a plus at the end for seniors Chantal Urlacher and Mckenzie Kostelecky and freshman Keana Kudrna. The three gymnasts have carried the workload after the barrage of injuries.
“It gave some of the girls the opportunity to be put into a position of leadership to score,” Van Ells said. “With Acacia and Mikaela sidelined, some of the girls were put into a position where their scores were needed to have a good team score.”