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Clark returns strong after injury

Dillon Clark missed a majority of his junior season due to a groin injury. The senior is making up for lost time. Though it took the first part of the season to knock off the rust, Clark hasn't skipped a beat in the last month. "You could tell in...

Dillon Clark
Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dillon Clark

Dillon Clark missed a majority of his junior season due to a groin injury.
The senior is making up for lost time.
Though it took the first part of the season to knock off the rust, Clark hasn’t skipped a beat in the last month.
“You could tell in the first tournament of the year it has been over a year since I wrestled,” said Clark, who is ranked No. 6 in North Dakota at 160 pounds. “Seeing progress is always nice, but over this last month or so, I’ve taken an extra step. I’m one step ahead of where I was. It feels good.”
Clark and the other three Dickinson seniors will compete for the final time at home against Bismarck High in a West Region dual at 7 p.m. today at the DHS gymnasium.
Though Clark hasn’t really thought about competing at home for the final time, he knows it will be emotional.
“It’s going to be bittersweet,” he said. “Probably more bitter than sweet.”
Dickinson head coach Pete Dobitz knew it will be tough for Clark right away as he hasn’t competed in more than a year.
Clark has turned the corner for crunch time. The senior won the 160-pound individual title at the Belle Fourche Tournament on Saturday. He defeated Trey Nachtigall of Hot Springs (S.D.) with a 11-3 major decision in the championship match.
“Mat time is something you cannot make up,” Dobitz said. “It’s not like basketball where you can go in the backyard and work on your shot. Wrestling against other people is something you can’t make up. He was rusty, but the quality of sparring partners in the rooms, he’s really come along very well.
“Part of his success this year is the drive that missed being in the room last year. He wanted to come back and prove that a year off wasn’t going to hurt him. As of right now, he’s doing a really good job of slowing the match, doing what he’s capable of doing and not trying to overdo things.”
However, Clark is the only wrestler happy that he is back. Clayton Tangen - a senior at 152 pounds - is Clark’s main wrestling partner.
“We really missed him last year,” Tangen said. “I wrestle with him pretty much every day and I love it, because he really pushes me.”
Raphael Lopez - who is a junior that’s ranked No. 4 at 170 pounds - said Tangen and the rest of the seniors are great leaders for the room.
Being a leader is on the mind of Lopez as he will be in that position next season.
“I always think about that every day that I’m going to be the next one up,” Lopez said. “I have to leading the team with the rest of the seniors next year.”
The Midgets have an outside chance of reaching the North Dakota Class A state tournament as a dual team.
In the final weeks of the regular season, the Midgets have set their sights on performing well individually during the West Region and state tournaments.
“We had individual meetings (on Monday) and we talked about where they wanted to finish individually,” Dobitz said. “That’s what we are focusing on right now. We have a couple of duals left, but we are pretty much focusing on what can we do for each guy individually to make them a little bit better.”

Related Topics: DICKINSON MIDGETSWRESTLING
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