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Midgets place 13 while taking second in Class A state tournament

Going into the Class A 138-pound championship, Dickinson High No. 2 freshman Troy Berg knew he had a challenge ahead of him. Standing between him and a state title was Bismarck High No. 1 senior Ryan Ripplinger, who boasted a 46-1 record. The two...

Dickinson High sophomore Troy Berg focuses during the 138-pound championship match against Ryan Ripplinger of Bismarck High on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Fargodome. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson High sophomore Troy Berg focuses during the 138-pound championship match against Ryan Ripplinger of Bismarck High on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Fargodome. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

Going into the Class A 138-pound championship, Dickinson High No. 2 freshman Troy Berg knew he had a challenge ahead of him.

Standing between him and a state title was Bismarck High No. 1 senior Ryan Ripplinger, who boasted a 46-1 record.

The two battled for six full minutes, but it was Ripplinger's arm that was raised instead of Berg's as he won his fourth state title with a 9-3 decision.

Until meeting Berg, Ripplinger had ripped through the bracket, pinning his first two opponents in 39 seconds or less before winning his semifinal with a technical fall in the second period.

Berg gave the eventual Class A Powerade State Senior Athlete of the Year his biggest challenge yet.

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The Dickinson freshman was one of 13 Midgets to place as the team took second overall at the Class A State Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Fargodome. Wrapping up the successful weekend, co-head coaches Pete Dobitz and Trevor Conrad were named Class A Subway State Coaches of the Year

"I guess, I wanted to go out and wrestle my best," Berg said. "I knew from previous experiences that he was going to be pretty hard to beat. I'd have to catch him or something. He's a tough wrestler. I knew my expectations, what everybody else was thinking, so if I did go out and lose it's no big deal, but I got to keep working so I can come back here next year and be on top of the podium instead of one step below."

Also putting up a fight in a championship match, was Midgets senior Brendan Johnson. In the 120-pound final, Johnson served as Reece Barnhardt's toughest opponent of the weekend.

The Bismarck St. Mary's sophomore fell his first opponent, won by technical fall over the next and victored with a 10-0 major decision in the semifinal. Johnson held him to a 12-6 decision.

"Both of them wrestled probably the best they have wrestled," Dobitz said of Berg and Johnson. "I think Reece Barnhardt probably had the toughest match he's ever had and I think Ryan Ripplinger had a tough match too. ... Both of them really gave it everything they had."

Dickinson seniors Jaren Berger, Tate Nordby, Matthew Meschke and Caleb Usher all ended their high school careers with victories.

Berger pinned Devin Schulz of Bismarck Century with 10 seconds left in the second period of the 132-pound 3rd-place match.

"It was a big match for me, my last match of my high school wrestling career," Berger said." I was going out to kick butt, but mainly have fun along the way. That's the biggest deal to me, is have fun."

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Coming off a 6-2 win to start his Saturday, the 170-pound Usher dropped a close 8-4 decision to Colby Rance of Devils Lake. From there, he redeemed himself with a 9-2 decision over Jacob Boehm of Bismarck Century to earn fifth.

While he admitted he was a little disappointed in his individual outcome, he said being a part of this team made it worth it.

"It feels really nice being a part of the team," he said. "Without the team, well, we wouldn't be able to come here."

Meschke did the same, winning his first match of the day with a 9-4 decision before being pinned at the 3:43 mark of his 145-pound consolation semifinal. Meschke was down 7-2 midway through the second period of his 5th-place match against Clay LaRocque, but a takedown and a near fall tied the bout at seven ahead of the final frame.

Starting in the up position, Meschke worked to contain LaRocque for the last two minutes before squeezing in a near fall in the closing seconds for the 9-7 win.

"You know, I didn't end up where I wanted to end up, but talking with my coaches ... going out with a win your senior year, not a lot of guys get to go out on a win," Meschke said. "It's definitely a blessing to go out on a win. I very well could have easily lost my match. The final high school match of my career, to go out on a win, there's nothing better."

Nordby ended his career in the orange and black with a 4-3 decision, taking third in the 160-pound bracket.

Concluding the placers for the Midgets, freshman Houston Crimmins (106) got fourth, eighth-grader Henry Nelson (113) and sophomore Jaxin Torgerson (152) earned sixth, while freshman Dexter Carpenter (152) finished seventh and sophomore Cody Booth (138) took eighth. Additionally, sophomore Tanner Jarrett finished third in the 182-pound bracket and senior Kameron Clark finished fourth at 220 pounds.

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"We placed 13 guys, the most we've ever placed," Dobitz said. "All-in-all a strong team, a lot of depth, and good guys coming back next year."

Team scores: 1, Bismarck High 205.5. 2, Dickinson 175. 3, Mandan 124. 4, Jamestown 116.5. 5, Bismarck Century 116.

106: 3rd place - Tyler Porter fall Houston Crimmins (D), 2:38.

113: 5th place - Neal Bohrer (BC) fall Henry Nelson (D), 3:19.

120: 1st place - Reece Barnhardt (BSM) dec. Brendan Johnson (D), 12-6.

132: 3rd place - Jaren Berger (D) fall Devin Schulz (BC), 3:50.

138: 1st place - Ryan Ripplinger (B) dec. Troy Berg (D), 9-3. 7th place - Cody Booth injury default Colton Mewes (J).

145: 5th place - Matthew Meschke (D) dec. Clay LaRocque (TM), 9-7.

152: 5th place - Seth Berg (Ma) fall Jaxin Torgerson (D), 3:37. 7th place - Dexter Carpenter (D) maj. dec. Spencer LeDoux (WF), 15-1.

160: 3rd place - Tate Nordby (D) dec. Comstock Krenz (W), 6-3.

170: 5th place - Caleb Usher (D) dec. Jacob Boehm BC), 9-3.

182: 3rd place - Tanner Jarrett (D) dec. Connor McGregor (B), 5-1.

220: 3rd place - Jacob Boehm (Ma) dec. Kameron Clark (D), 6-1.

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