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Dickinson High wrestlers mentally ready Jamestown, senior night dual

With one home dual remaining in his high school wrestling career, Jaret Lee isn't making too much out of it. "It's just another dual, really," he said before practice Monday. "It's our last home dual, so that's kind of the highlight of it." The D...

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Dickinson High senior wrestler Jaret Lee, top, works for points against Bismarck St. Mary’s Kurt Dickhut Dec. 3 at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Parker Cotton/The Dickinson Press)

With one home dual remaining in his high school wrestling career, Jaret Lee isn’t making too much out of it.

“It’s just another dual, really,” he said before practice Monday. “It’s our last home dual, so that’s kind of the highlight of it.”

The Dickinson High wrestling team will host Jamestown at 6 p.m. today at DHS gymnasium, but the senior night ceremonies might be put on the back burner.

“It’ll be special for my parents,” senior heavyweight Dual Keck said. “They enjoy watching me do my sports. They enjoy watching the team, especially, and seeing how everybody gets better as the year goes on. They like being a part of it.”

To head coach Pete Dobitz, Keck and Lee’s passive nature regarding the senior night spectacle is not surprising.

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“I think that’s how the two of them kind of roll,” he said. “They don’t get too up or too down about many things. Maybe it’ll hit more after the dual that it was their last hurrah, but that’s how the two of them go about things.”

Nevertheless, Dobitz said he expects Keck, Lee and the team’s five other seniors - Lucas Kubik, Justin Meyer, Brian Rodriguez, Joe Rutledge and Rafael Lopez - to be “firing on all cylinders.”

“You never want to be too high or too low about things,” he said, “but I think they’ll recognize the finality of it. I think they know how big it is to wrestle well in front of their home fans in one last dual.”

The seniors may not let on how important their final home dual is, but Dobitz sees it as a closing of a chapter growing nearer, and he’s mindful of what he loses after this year: a lot of valuable experience.

Lee, currently ranked No. 1 in the state at 152 pounds, was a state runner-up at 138 last season. Lopez was a state runner-up at 170 a year ago as well and is currently ranked third at that weight. Meyer, ranked No. 5 at 195, placed eighth at in his weight last season, and Keck placed third. And Rodriguez placed eighth at 126 pounds two years ago as a sophomore in his first year of wrestling.

“It’s kind of a mixed group,” Dobitz said. “You have Jaret Lee, who’s been wrestling forever, since he was a little guy. Brian Rodriguez came to the United States as a sophomore and places in his first year of wrestling. Dual started wrestling as a freshman, and just to see his growth over that time has been immense.

“I think the main component (the seniors) are bringing to the table is hard work. Not just in one year but in multiple years. It’s a work ethic year-round for these young kids to see.”

In his four years of wrestling, Keck said he’s seen great personal growth that has allowed him to become the wrestler he is today.

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“I lacked a lot of confidence my first two and a half years,” he said. “As a freshman, I was really bad. I got pinned a lot. Junior year, it just kind of clicked. I started thinking, ‘I can stick with these kids,’ and I think I’ve done a good job of that. I like having the confidence. It just feels like everything flows a lot better.”

Lee, too, has seen progression in his wrestling ability, most of it due to an increase in confidence.

“I used to go into matches being maybe a little bit down, thinking all I have to do is survive,” Lee said. “Now, I guess I’m the guy that should be winning every match. It’s more pressure on me to not come in passive aggressive. I have to be more aggressive because I’m the one with the target on my back. I definitely have more confidence.”

While Lee might not think much of senior night, he said the recognition of his parents will be special.

“They get to get acknowledged for what they’ve done for the program and done for me,” he said. “They put me in it when I was in first grade and it just escalated from there. They kept putting me in in, taking me to camps, spending money for me to get better.”

The recognition of parents is a meaningful aspect of the evening for Dobitz as well.

“These parents have done anything and everything I’ve ever asked of them,” Dobitz said. “From getting snacks at the state tournament for the kids to selling T-shirts, they’ve been huge supporters. We’ve got some top-notch parents. And grandparents too. Dual’s grandparents have even given a big donation so we can get new singlets. They’re there in Belle Fourche and Grand Forks, wherever we are, supporting all the boys. They’re always there. They’ll arrive early and stay through the whole thing.

“We’ll miss strong parents just as much as strong wrestlers.”

Related Topics: DICKINSON HIGH SCHOOL
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