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DHS wrestling grows through principles

Listed on a whiteboard inside of the Dickinson High wrestling room are mindset principles and a series of goals the wrestlers aim to reach. While not every goal was reached, the latter was integral in their performance throughout the season. Ever...

Dickinson High Tod Irwin, left, competes against Lanier Karpeh of West Fargo Sheyenne during the Class A seventh-place match at 138 pounds on Saturday at the North Dakota state wrestling tournament at the Fargodome. (Press File Photo)
Dickinson High Tod Irwin, left, competes against Lanier Karpeh of West Fargo Sheyenne during the Class A seventh-place match at 138 pounds on Saturday at the North Dakota state wrestling tournament at the Fargodome. (Press File Photo)

Listed on a whiteboard inside of the Dickinson High wrestling room are mindset principles and a series of goals the wrestlers aim to reach.

While not every goal was reached, the latter was integral in their performance throughout the season.

Every DHS wrestler have the following principles memorized: 1. I am thankful for the opportunity to wrestle, 2. I am aggressive and relentless, 3. I have no fear of failure or making mistakes. 4. I will never, ever give up.

"It's just played a big part. We tried something new with really working on the mental part of wrestling, in addition to the physical part. I think it helped our kids both mentally and emotionally," Midgets co-head coach Trevor Conrad said. "I think it really helped our kids develop that attitude everyday coming into the room and also going on the mat, competing every week."

Ranked 10th for much of the year, Dickinson finished seventh in the 2018 state wrestling tournament last weekend as all 14 Midget wrestlers who traveled to Fargo picked up a victory, eight of which earned an eighth place finish or better.

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Junior Jaren Berger walked out of Fargodome as the highest-placing DHS wrestler, capturing third in the 120-pound weight class. Seeded fourth in the bracket, Berger defeated Bismarck High junior and top-seeded Laken Boese via a 5-3 decision in the third place match.

Boese, who entered the match with a 40-2 record, defeated Berger in a closely contested match in the West Regional Tournament just a week early. Knowing that he could grapple with the best, Berger use that experience as fuel for the rematch.

"I thought I gained a lot of confidence at WDA two weekends ago actually," Berger said. "I knew I that I could compete with the number one ranked wrestler [in the state] because I only lost to him by two points at WDA. So, I just gained a lot of confidence."

Junior Brendan Johnson, senior Tod Irwin and junior Tate Nordby came away with fourth place finishes out of the 126-, 138- and 152-pound weight classes, respectively.

In his first state tournament appearance, eighth-grader Troy Berg concluded his debut placing fifth in the 138-pound bracket. Battling out of the 160-pound weight class, junior Caleb Usher took sixth, as did with 182-pound junior Kameron Clark.

Seventh-place in the 145-point weight bracket went to junior Mathew Meschke while 132-pound Koletan Hafey rounded out the DHS top finishers after placing eighth.

"We had a lot of kids peak at the right time of the season," Conrad said. "By the time we got to the state tournament, we had a lot of kids wrestle at their seed or above their seed. It allowed us to earn a top-seven finish, beating the likes of Bismarck Century, a team that we had lost to earlier in the season in a tight dual. Preparing them mentality, physically, emotionally, having a good core group of kids, and holding each other accountable just made for a really good weekend."

While the 2017-18 campaign just ended, Dickinson's eyes are geared towards next year. The Midgets will lose Hafey, Irwin and 285-pound senior state qualifier Hunter Wilson to graduation, but much of their depth remains in tact and will look to place higher when they return to states.

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In preparation, among other items, Conrad encourages his wrestlers to participate in other sports and plans on attending a team wrestling camp with hopes of becoming a tighter-knit group.

"Hopefully, we'll build some camaraderie and gel a little bit better as a team," Conrad said. "Going to an out-of-state wrestling camp where we'll see some kids we've never seen before, it'll get the kids' confidence up It'll get them to be closer on the mat and off the mat, being able to rely on each other and know that the guy wrestling before them or after them with the same singlet is going to put everything on the mat just like they will."

Related Topics: DICKINSON HIGH SCHOOLDICKINSON MIDGETS
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