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'Means a lot': Father-son duo inducted into DHS Athletic Hall of Fame

David and Matt Michaelson share the highs and lows of their journey together while part of the Dickinson High School wrestling program after induction into DHS Athletic Hall of Fame.

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David, left, and Matt Michaelson with their DHS Athletic Hall of Fame plaques.
Contributed / David Michaelson
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DICKINSON — Six Dickinson High School alumni were recognized during the 5th annual Dickinson High School Athletics Hall of Fame Induction on Saturday, Sept. 17. A brunch ceremony was held at Dickinson Middle School to induct Jason Moore, Miranda Beopple, Rick Siefken, Matt Michaelson and David Michaelson. Paul Herauf was honored with the Loyalty Award.

David and Matt share a special bond as not just coach and athlete, but father and son.

David Michaelson is a long-time educator and coach. He and his two-time state wrestling champion son, Matt Michaelson, were joined by family and friends to reminisce of the glory of decades past.

“It is always one of my highlights of each year to have the hall of fame ceremony and to be able to induct former athletes that played for Dickinson High School and for putting Dickinson on the map on the athletic side of things,” DHS Athletic Director Guy Fridley said. “It was fun to witness. It was a special moment that I think Dave, Matt and their family will remember for a long time.”

The pair were elated to recieve the honor and catch up with old friends. The Michaelsons and their fellow inductees humbly thanked the school for recognizing their achievements. They also expressed gratitude to everyone who helped them through their high school journeys, both on and off the mat.

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David Michaelson has been with Dickinson HS athletics for over 35 years and continues to serve as an assistant athletic director to Fridley. During his induction speech he recalled the mentorship he received as an athlete at Dickinson State University.

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David Michaelson, wearing a green plaid shirt, while coaching his athlete on the mat.
Contributed / David Michaelson

“A lot of my coaching and what I stood for in my principles came from coach Terry Burgess and Henry Biesiot,” David said. “There is a special support system in this community and I couldn't have chosen a better place to coach, teach and raise my family.”

For every year that David was the DHS head wrestling coach, they would compete in state wrestling duals. Over the years he coached 25 individual wrestling champions, including his son Matt.

“I had the privilege and honor to coach Matt and watch him do very well. Undefeated season as a senior, won two state titles, three time placer and I also got to coach him in college, so it was a really fun ride for me,” Michaelson said. “It means a lot when you get to share that with your son.”

Matt's talents and determination earned him state titles both his junior and senior years. In the latter he went 49-0, sharing the Mr. Wrestler Award with peer Marc Mellmer in 2003. He reminisced the dynamic chemistry among teammates who pushed each other to greatness.

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Matt Michaelson, wearing the solid black leotard, pinning his opponent at the state championship in 2003.
Contributed / David Michaelson

“I don't know how or why, we just came together and all of sudden we got a whole bunch of aces in the room,” Matt said. “It was like, we went to war with each other and pushed each other — almost making each other bleed and then at the tournaments we would just hang out laying in a hotel bed together talking about who we were going to wrestle the next day. We were all just the best of friends.”

Matt thanked his father, coaches and supportive peers; but made a point to acknowledge the women in his life as well.

“In my induction speech, I thanked my family as a whole, but I want to thank my mom especially,” Matt Michaelson said. “I had it in my notes on the podium, but I never did say it. I wanted to thank my mom and my grandma Bonnie for always making me healthy meals when I was cutting weight… She was a huge part of it.”

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David recalled his son's junior year, which demanded fierce dedication in order to drop two weight classes.

“We had a guy that [Matt] wrestled with that was a great teammate, but didn’t want to cut down to 152. So Matt, who was a good six or eight inches taller than this kid, made that weight. That is probably one of the toughest weight cuts I have ever seen my wrestlers go through,” David said. “It all paid off because by the time the year came to an end, he beat the returning state champion in the regional. Then he beat the returning state champion in the final and beat him soundly.”

The night before the ceremony, at the DHS homecoming football game, inductees were treated to a suite inside the Biesiot Activities Center. This enabled them to share and relive cherished memories. At halftime they were all recognized on the field.

“It meant a lot to me, graduating with Miranada, she was always a superior athlete and Paul Herauf was always a friend of the family,” Matt Michaelson said. “Having my dad there all along and getting inducted into the hall of fame with him was a special moment.”

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Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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