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Sickler relying on quickness, speed

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson High senior Chris Sickler, right, celebrates after pinning Bismarck Century’s Tanner Krefting at heavyweight on Dec. 23 at DHS gymnasium.

When Dickinson High senior Chris Sickler is on the wrestling mat, he relies on speed and quickness.

He has to, because he’s giving up at least 50 pounds every match.

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Sickler weighs 215 pounds and wrestles at heavyweight — where the wrestlers can weigh as much as 285.

“I feel more confident up there, because I feel I’m in better shape than most of the other guys,” Sickler said. “They are bigger and stronger. You just have to stay out from under them. You have to know when to hit your stuff and use it right.

“You have to (rely on speed and quickness), because you have those heavier guys coming at you and you have to be just a little bit faster than them.”

Though Sickler is giving up weight, he gives the Dickinson High wrestling team the flexibility to wrestle at 220 or heavyweight — a luxury not many teams have.

“Sickler has fun doing it and he’s one of those kids that just gets after it,” Dickinson co-head coach Adam Orton said. “Moving up a weight class is something he’s always done. Even though he’s 215, he’s not afraid of going up against the guys who are 260 and 270. He’s going to go after them and just try to grind through it.”

Sickler will close out his home high school career as the Midgets host the West Region Tournament beginning at 9:30 a.m. today.

After the West Region Tournament, Dickinson travels to the North Dakota Class A state wrestling tournament beginning on Thursday at the Bismarck Civic Center.

“It’s going to be weird knowing that this is my senior year and high school sports went by so fast,” Sickler said. “I wish you could slow down and stay in a little bit longer, but it’s time to move on.”

Not only has Sickler moved up in weight classes, but he has had to deal with injuries throughout the season. Sickler has experienced shoulder and knee injuries.

While wrestling at heavyweight has taken a toll on Sickler’s body, he enjoys the challenge of competing at a higher weight class.

“I feel like my season has gone pretty good this year,” he said. “With the injuries and coming back to wrestle 285 right away from 220, I’ve had a lot of fun this year.”

Dickinson sophomore Dual Keck — Sickler’s wrestling partner during practice — is also glad the senior moved up a weight class. Keck moved from heavyweight to 220.

However, Keck said he was happy wherever he was in the lineup.

“I feel a lot more comfortable at 220,” Keck said. “I was pretty happy moving down, but I would have been happy either way because it’s a varsity spot.”

Keck said being Sickler’s wrestling partner has helped him learn a great deal.

“Sickler knows a lot more than me and uses a whole bunch of different stuff when he wrestles,” Keck said. “It’s really nice to learn from him.”