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Midgets' busy week: DHS hosts Williston today and the Dickinson Classic on Friday and Saturday

Press Photo by Dustin Monke Dickinson High senior Thomas McCarty, top, pins Bismarck St. Mary's Austin Braunagel on Dec. 2 at DHS gymnasium. The Midgets have a three-day stretch hosting Williston in a dual today and the Dickinson Classic on Friday and Saturday at DHS gymnasium.

The Dickinson High wrestling team has another busy week ahead of them.

The Midgets will compete the next three days, hosting Williston in a dual at 6:30 p.m. today and the Dickinson Classic on Friday and Saturday.

"It's going to be a long week," Dickinson senior Thomas McCarty said. "It should be a good week, though. We've done well so far this season."

Dickinson isn't a stranger to a high number of matches in a row, but Midgets first-year head coach Bruce Heppner wants to make sure his boys stay healthy.

"It takes a toll on the boys," Heppner said. "This is close to the second week in a row that it has been a Thursday, Friday, Saturday."

That health concern deals mostly with the intake of enough fluids.

"We just have to make sure the boys are healthy and keeping up on their daily water, so they can go those three hard days," Heppner said.

Heppner always wants his wrestlers to see some of the best competition throughout the season. With 22 teams coming into the DHS gymnasium during the Dickinson Classic, the excitement to perform is already mounting.

"It's a good chance to see a lot of schools and good competition," Heppner said. "With it being at home, the boys want to try and finish as high as they can for their home crowd."

The Dickinson Classic teams are coming in all the way from eastern North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and there will be one team from Minnesota. Some smaller in North Dakota have taken the invite, including Watford City and Beach.

"Team-wise, there are some teams that come in without a full lineup," Heppner said. "A majority of the teams are coming in with 20-30 guys."

What does a tournament of this magnitude mean for the Dickinson wrestlers? Sophomore Jace Dukart said it's all about gaining experience.

"Most of us haven't even had any varsity experience," Dukart said. "We definitely are just getting the hang of it."

With a new coach and mostly a new group of wrestlers, the excitement level is brimming as the Midgets prepare to host their only tournament of the season.

"We are just excited that we are on varsity," Dukart said. "You just want to get back out there and wrestle again."

Heppner will be the first to say he's pleased with his team so far this season.

"I'm really impressed with how the boys are wrestling," Heppner said. "It's a team effort and you can tell the boys are doing this as a team."

Forming that camaraderie quickly has helped the Midgets gel. Dukart said the team is more like a big family.

"We are definitely really close," he said. "In the years past, I don't think we were as close. But since we have a smaller team this year, we've got to know each other a lot better."

Dual time is important, but Heppner is attempting to show the wrestlers how to switch their mindsets during tournament time.

"The thing with wrestling is you have the dual season and the tournament season," Heppner said. "You have to battle for the team and then turn around in a short period of time and battle for yourself."

With the amount of athletes and number of schools, the Dickinson Classic can be an insight for the state tournament.

"I think it can be compared to that," Heppner said. "We try to put on a tough tournament like the Bismarck Rotary. We like to get as many teams and as much tough competition as we can. We are preparing ourselves for a state competition."