Killdeer wants first Region 4 title
The Killdeer wrestling team's objective on Saturday is to bring the school its first Region 4 championship. "That's what we're shooting for," said Cowboys head coach Shane Olson, who believes the title is a very attainable goal. And why shouldn't...
The Killdeer wrestling team's objective on Saturday is to bring the school its first Region 4 championship.
"That's what we're shooting for," said Cowboys head coach Shane Olson, who believes the title is a very attainable goal.
And why shouldn't it be.
Killdeer is the only team in Region 4 with a wrestler ranked in the top four of each weight class, meaning it could be poised to collect several points during the region's individual tournament, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Hettinger High School's Roberts-Reinke Gymnasium.
Leading the way is junior Jared Lee-Gay, who finished sixth in the state at 112 pounds last year and made strides in the offseason to hold strong at that weight.
Lee-Gay has made his hard work pay off, too. He is 32-1 record with his only loss coming against a wrestler from Montana.
"Everybody is looking to try and knock him off," Olson said.
Hunter Fredericks (125) and Grady Houghton (189) are also ranked No. 1 in the Region 4 standings.
Olson said the team isn't just shooting for history Saturday, it's also hoping a couple youngsters can set Killdeer milestones.
Eighth-grader T.J. Moore is 19-15 at heavyweight and seventh-grader Derrick Tabor is 18-9 at 103 pounds. Both are ranked second in Region 4.
Olson said Killdeer has never had a junior high wrestler qualify for the Class B state tournament, but both Moore and Tabor have strong chances.
"We've got some pretty good young kids," Olson said.
The Cowboys have five others ranked second in the region -- Logan Schaper (119), Garret Tabor (135), River Voigt (145), Lane Oversen (152) and Anthony Dukart (160) -- entering the tournament.
Olson said the key in those wrestlers earning championships, which in Schaper's case involves knocking off a returning state champion in New Salem-Almont's Cody Neumiller, means making a mark early.
"I think we just need to open up early and get the first takedown in our matches and get the momentum in our favor," Olson said. "We're right in there all the time. It's just a matter of us getting the first takedown in the first period for us to win matches."
Killdeer has Region 4's No. 2 seed in the Class B state dual tournament and must face Region 3 champion Velva in the opening round.
Watford City is the only team to beat the Cowboys (9-1) in a dual this year and takes the top seed into the state tournament.
Olson said he believes his team has improved since that loss.
"It was early on," he said. "A lot of our kids, we didn't have them down to weight then. We were a different looking team now."
But Olson said the Cowboys aren't too worried about next week's dual tournament just yet.
First thing's first.
"We're just hoping we can get a region title this year and see what we can do at state after that," Olson said.
Hettinger coach Burwick hoping for a few upsets
Hettinger head coach Randy Burwick has been around high school wrestling long enough to know that anything can happen at tournament time.
This year, his Black Devils are in the position to exact a few upsets at the Region 4 tournament.
Hettinger has just one wrestler ranked first in the region -- junior 140-pounder Sean Elkins -- but have 10 wrestlers ranked in the top four.
"I've watched a lot of things and I've been in a lot of regional tournaments where you have kids who have had their way throughout the year and kind of struggle to make it," Burwick said. "Our goal is to upset some people."
Burwick plans to get his team on the mat in Roberts-Rienke Gymnasium on Friday night and hope a little home-court advantage, so to speak, kicks in.
"We've got some pretty good chances," Burwick said. "We've got some kids who are wrestling pretty well right now. It's going to come down to, can you pull an upset somewhere."
Region 4 rankings
103: 1, Hunter Eslinger, Beulah-Hazen. 2, Derrick Tabor, Killdeer. 3, Chauncey Hughes, Hettinger. 4, Colton Jore, Watford City.
112: 1, Jared Lee-Gay, Killdeer. 2, Colton Neumiller, New Salem-Almont. 3, Jake Scott, WC. 4, Kyle McGee, Bowman County.
119: 1, Cody Neumiller, NS-A. 2, Logan Schaper, Killdeer. 3, Cody Tomac, Hettinger. 4, Isaac Laris, WC.
125: 1, Hunter Fredericks, Killdeer. 2, Logan Eisenbeis, B-H. 3, Eric Bucholz, BC. 4, Trevor Abrahamson, Hettinger.
130: 1, Trevor Kalberer, WC. 2, Christian Hughes, Hettinger. 3, Cole Kupper, Killdeer. 4, Ty Horning, B-H.
135: 1, Brady Lund, WC. 2, Garret Tabor, Killdeer. 3, Evan Mellmer, B-H. 4, Ryan Engal, Hettinger.
140: 1, Sean Elkins, Hettinger. 2, Jake Thomas, WC. 3, Monte Nilsen, NS-A. 4, Camren Decoteau, Killdeer.
145: 1, Taylor Heins, NS-A. 2, River Voigt, Killdeer. 3, Austin Garman, WC. 4, Isaac Ripplinger, B-H.
152: 1, Karson Knudtson, WC. 2, Lane Overson, Killdeer. 3, Jeff Abrahamson, Hettinger. 4, David Murphy, Standing Rock.
160: 1, Dalton Reinfeld, NS-A. 2, Anthony Dukart, Killdeer. 3, Nolan Kalberer, WC. 4, Gauge Harrison, SR.
171: 1, Kalin Mogen, WC. 2, Isiah Krebs, B-H. 3, Darius Fasthorse, SR. 4, Riley Rhodes, Killdeer.
189: 1, Grady Houghton, Killdeer. 2, Brandon Mueth, WC. 3, Victor Hess, BC. 4, Kevin Sandgren, Hettinger.
215: 1, Seb Harrison, SR. 2, Ty Doll, NS-A. 3, Denby Lueck, Hettinger. 4, David Dukart, Killdeer.
HWT: 1, Deej Medicine Horse, SR. 2, T.J. Moore, Killdeer. 3, Nathan Ling, Hettinger. 4, Kye Bolken, WC