Practice makes perfectThe best way to transform from a good wrestler to a great wrestler is their competition in the wrestling room.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The best way to transform from a good wrestler to a great wrestler is their competition in the wrestling room.
Jaret Lee, a 106-pound freshman, and Austin Hutzenbiler, a 113-pound sophomore, are prime examples of that motto for the Dickinson High wrestling team.
After facing each other in the wrestling room for a majority of the season, Lee and Hutzenbiler were crowned West Region champions on Saturday in Minot.
“We work hard in the practice room every day,” Hutzenbiler said. “To be honest, we beat each other up every day. It’s good in the room, because when you get good, it’s not always about you. It’s about the strength of your partner. You need your partner to push you to become better.”
However, the duo’s biggest weekend of the season starts today at the Class A state wrestling tournament at the Fargodome.
“I feel that we’ll have the jitters out right now, so we don’t have to be nervous and everything,” said Lee, who attends Dickinson Trinity High School. “I was really nervous in my first matches. I’m not really nervous now. I’m more excited than anything.”
Dickinson co-head coach Cody Wolf said the team’s had the same success when former state champions Luke Mellmer and Dusty Yates wrestled each other in the practice room.
“If you have a good practice partner, that’s half your battle throughout the year,” Wolf said. “You need a good practice. If you look down our state championship board, we’ve always had great kids with great practice partners.”
Hutzenbiler finished eighth at 106 pounds last year and is ranked No. 1 at 113 going into the state meet. He will face Valley City’s Logan Erlandson in the first round.
Lee is the No. 5 seed at 106 and will face Fargo Davies’ Keenan Morris. In Lee’s first trip to the state tournament last year, he didn’t place.
Not only do Hutzenbiler and Lee face each other during practice, but junior Devin Berger, who placed fourth at 120 pounds last year, is in the mix along with eighth-grader Caden Haugen. Berger and Haugen are each state qualifiers and often compete with Hutzenbiler and Lee in practice.
“It helps us out a lot,” Hutzenbiler said. “In the long run, it’s helped us out with seeding.”
Lee said the number of state qualifiers returning to the state tournament should make everyone a little less nervous.
The Midgets have eight returning qualifiers with state tournament experience from last year include Lee, Hutzenbiler, Berger, senior Michael Dobitz, juniors Jace Dukart and Michael Cherwinski, and sophomores Dillon Clark and Clayton Tangen. The four newcomers are Haugen, seniors Collin Thielen and Jacob Shypkowski, and freshman Dual Keck.
Dickinson also take a handful of non-individual qualifiers to Fargo as part of its Class A state dual tournament team, which has the No. 3 seed team from the West Region and faces East Region No. 2 seed Fargo Davies at 10 a.m. CST today. The winner moves on to Friday’s semifinals and the loser is eliminated.
“Every year that you go into the state, you get more and more confident,” Wolf said. “Especially when everyone is rolling towards the same championship sides of the brackets.”