Cotton is the sports editor at The Press, where he covers the area's high schools. He came to The Press as the Multimedia Editor in May 2015 after graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with his master's degree in Sociological Practice. He holds undergraduate degrees in Journalism and Sociology from UNC, as well.
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FARGO — Hettinger and Bowman sit a mere 40 miles apart, but that distance was reduced to barely a few feet on Saturday as Kyle Burwick looked across the mat at Alex Madrigal. After a regular season of tournaments, duals, practices and the gauntlet that is the North Dakota state wrestling tournament, two Region 4 wrestlers found themselves battling for the Class B state championship at 120 pounds.
FARGO — Dickinson High wrestler Brendan Johnson and his head coach Pete Dobitz disagree about how many times Johnson faced Bismarck High's Alex Kaseman this season. But what matters is that Johnson won the last one. Johnson, the No. 5 seed at 113 pounds at the North Dakota state wrestling tournament, lost to Kaseman, the No. 4 seed, by 3-2 tiebreaker in Thursday's second round. But in Saturday's third-place match, he tallied his own 3-2 decision victory.
FARGO — The scoreboard lights burned deep into Friday evening, reminding the few passersby in the cavernous Fargodome of the final score: 31-30. For those who competed, the score may be forgotten. The events, never. Hettinger-Scranton seventh-grader Conner Andress took the mat needing any kind of victory to overcome a 30-28 deficit against Lisbon freshman Caleb Nielsen in the Class B team dual championship match at the North Dakota state wrestling tournament.
FARGO — The second day of the North Dakota state wrestling tournament always allows for a little redemption. After suffering a first-round loss on Thursday, Dickinson High freshman Jacob Alexander bounced back on Friday to win his first two matches of the wrestlebacks to earn himself a spot in the top eight at 145 pounds, which will be determined on Saturday.
FARGO — Tom Irwin's summer workout partner — Mandan head coach Luke Mellmer — was sitting across the mat, shouting instructions. They were not to him, however. The guidance was for Irwin's opponent, Braves junior Dylan Fleck, in their quarterfinal match at 152 pounds on Thursday at the North Dakota state wrestling tournament. Irwin, a senior at Dickinson High had faced Fleck just once prior this season, losing a 7-2 decision in December, but Irwin got the better of the rematch, a 3-2 decision.
FARGO — The Hettinger-Scranton wrestling team earned bonus points in nine matches on Thursday, defeating Oakes in the first round of Class B team duals on the first day of the North Dakota state wrestling tournament at the Fargodome. The No. 2-seeded Night Hawks picked up eight falls and one major decision against the Tornadoes, securing a 55-19 victory. "We talked about, 'We need bonus points in duals,' and we got some opportunities to score some near falls. That was big for us," Hettinger-Scranton head coach Randy Burwick said.
In the second period of Dickinson High's game at Hazen-Beulah on Feb. 7, with the Midgets well on their way to a 16-0 rout of the Northstars, a Hazen-Beulah player, overcome with frustration, took his stick and whacked Dickinson sophomore Ryan Bren in the side of the neck. The cheapshot earned the Northstar player a game misconduct and an ejection, but before that, Dickinson senior Jerzy Martin confronted him, earning a penalty of his own.
HETTINGER — For some more than others, the waiting is the worst part. Hettinger-Scranton head wrestling coach Randy Burwick said he's had to calm down his son, Kyle Burwick, in the days leading up to the state wrestling tournament, which begins today at the Fargodome. "He's ready to roll. We can't get on the road quick enough for him," Randy said earlier this week. Kyle Burwick is just a sophomore but will be making his fourth straight trip to the state wrestling tournament. After a 46-3 season, he is the No. 1 seed in Class B's 120 pound bracket.
Tanner Ouellette saved the best game of his career for the last game he would ever play in Dickinson High's gymnasium. The senior started ice cold but finished in a flurry, scoring 22 of his 24 career-high points after halftime on Tuesday, helping the No. 1-ranked Midgets boys basketball team hold off Mandan, 84-72, on senior night. "They were good looks. I don't think he forced a single shot," Dickinson head coach Dan Glasser said. "It's what I see from Tanner every day in practice, so I wasn't surprised."
Mandan's three-point shooting proved to be sustainable. Dickinson High's attempt at a comeback was not. The hot-shooting Braves spoiled the Midgets girls basketball team's senior night festivities on Tuesday, coming away with a 79-45 victory at DHS gymnasium.