Former Dickinson, Hettinger wrestlers to be inducted into hall of fame

The North Dakota Wrestling Hall of Fame is inducting 10 men as part of the Class of 2019, including former Dickinson High wrestler Marc Mellmer and former Hettinger wrestler Dusty Vliem.

The North Dakota Wrestling Hall of Fame is inducting 10 men as part of the Class of 2019, including former Dickinson High wrestler Marc Mellmer and former Hettinger wrestler Dusty Vliem.

Mellmer was team captain of the 2003 Midgets wrestling team that won the West Region Tournament before finishing second in both the Class A Dual and Individual Tournaments.

Although he missed half his junior season with a broken collarbone, Mellmer still accrued a high school record of 207-7, including 165 wins via pin.

"It's quite an honor. It's something that I didn't expect," Mellmer remarked. "I know that I'm not very old by a long shot, so to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this early in my life is quite an honor. I just really appreciate the wrestling community in the state of North Dakota.

Mellmer earned three state titles and took third in 2001. During his senior season in 2003, he was named Class A's Co-Mr. Wrestler and was a USA Wrestling All-American.


After sitting out his junior year with the injury, Mellmer fell to Bismarck High's Ryan Stockert in the WDA championship bout. However, he came out on top against the same opponent in the state finals, earning his third title.

"He has probably one of the most impressive win percentages in the history of the state," former coach Dave Michaelson said. "Marc led us. He was, quite honestly, one of our leaders and he was a co-captain his junior and senior year with the guy he shared Mr. Wrestler with his senior year, my son Matt. Matt and Marc were buddies all the way through. I watched him grow up and watched the intensity he brings."

Michaelson will be the one to induct Mellmer into the Hall of Fame.

Following his high school career, Mellmer wrestled for the University of Minnesota under J. Robinson and was part of the 2007 Golden Gophers team that won the Div. I National Championship.

Additionally, he won a combined 20 North Dakota freestyle and Greco-Roman state titles and earned Greco-Roman All-American honors at the University Nationals.

Mellmer is Vice-President at JE Dunn Construction and still finds time to volunteer as a wrestling coach in the Williston, Dickinson and Bismarck areas.

As a member of the last Midgets team to win WDA ahead of a state appearance, Mellmer had some advice for the current Dickinson squad.

"As far as winning WDA, when I was a senior in high school, it was a boost to take us to the state tournament," Mellmer said. "Definitely, it's going to be a different atmosphere when you get to the state tournament, so definitely don't let your guard down. That was just step one, winning WDA, so hopefully they can carry into the state tournament with the same amount of intensity and ambition."


Hettinger competitor Dusty Vliem was also named Mr. Wrestler, but at the Class B level in 2005. As a Black Devil, Vliem was coached by Randy Burwick, who still heads the team that now goes by the name Night Hawks.

"It's a great honor for him. It's huge for our community, it's huge for our program so kids can look at that and say, 'Wow, look at this kid. He did it,'" Burwick said. "For us, our program, and for Dusty in general, it's just a fantastic honor for him. I'm excited for him, I'm proud of what he did and it's going to be fun to see him there."

As a high school grappler, Vleim qualified for state five times, and placed four times. His sophomore year, he won the state title at 171 pounds before winning at 189 pounds the following two years.

Vliem went undefeated his sophomore and senior seasons, accumulating a total high school career record of 190-34.

At first, he didn't wrestle in college, playing outside linebacker at the University of Mary. Later, he joined the wrestling team and qualified for nationals after finishing fourth in the region at 197 pounds.

"I'm super proud of Dusty," said Burwick, who will induct Vliem into the Hall of Fame. "Dusty, for the last three years he was wrestling in high school, he was the most dominant, upper-weighted kid in the state, whether it was Class A or Class B. There was nobody that dominated the wrestling mat like he did. He was a terrific worker in the practice room. He was amazing when he wrestled for as big as he was, he had cat-like reflexes. His strength was amazing, his quickness was amazing, his technique was flawless."

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