Normalcy preached during DHS wrestling's journey to states
Participating at regionals last weekend, nearly half of the Dickinson High wrestling team have headed east following a quick turnaround. Hitting the road Wednesday afternoon, the Midgets will complete their season at the Fargodome, competing at t...
Participating at regionals last weekend, nearly half of the Dickinson High wrestling team have headed east following a quick turnaround.
Hitting the road Wednesday afternoon, the Midgets will complete their season at the Fargodome, competing at the Class A state individual tournament beginning Thursday morning.
Facing the rigors of a long campaign and with the stakes being raised, the Midgets coaching staff haven't adjusted their approach.
"To prepare for the postseason, we've done what we do every week," Midgets co-head coach Trevor Conrad said. "Sometimes guys are letting off of the gas pedal this time of the year, but that's really not our philosophy. Our boys have really been hitting it hard, filling the weight room at times, still doing everything they can, physically working out everyday and mentally really taking care of their mindset."
Dickinson will be well represented in Fargo this upcoming weekend, sending 14 wrestlers - all whom are seeded - in 12 separate weight classes.
Brendan Johnson enters the competition with a 30-14 record and is the highest seeded Midgets wrestler, qualifying third in the 126-pound weight class. Johnson is among six juniors participating in states.
Other juniors include Jaren Berger, Mathew Meschke, Tate Nordby, Caleb Usher and Kameron Clark, battling out of the 120-, 145-, 152-, 160-, and 182-pound weight classes, respectively.
"The junior class is the core of this group, purely based on numbers," Conrad said. "We have three seniors and those three have provided excellent senior leadership. The juniors have also taken a big step in being leaders of the team as well. We've been placing a lot of emphasis on the leadership in the wrestling room, in the classroom and everywhere else. The juniors have done a great job with the seniors of being excellent role models to the younger grades."
With 35-13 record, Koletan Hafey heads a trio of seniors out of the 132-pound slot. He is joined by 285-pound heavyweight Hunter Wilson and 132-pounder Todd Irwin, who is making his fifth straight trip to the big show.
Despite this being his swan-song, Irwin said he doesn't feel much pressure and thinks his previous trips to this stage has made his life easier this time around.
"I'm looking at it the same as all the other years. If anything, it makes it easier having this experience because I know what's it's like," Irwin said. "The first two tournaments were pretty crazy. I was kind of nervous because it was such a big stage. Having those extra years under my belt really help because it lets you know what you expect where you're there."
Irwin is a part of eight Midgets who are making a return trip to states (Berger, Johnson, Meschke, Nordby, Usher, Clark, and eighth grade 138-pounder Troy Berg). Irwin has offered a bit of advice for the wrestlers who are making their first appearance.
"I always tell the guys everything is important, but nothing is special," he said. "You got to approach everything with the same mindset that everything is worth your time and you always have to put all of your effort into it, but it's just like any other match you've been to. You've got to treat it the same way."
Irwin says that mentality has been instilled in him by his coaches, who echoed a similar sentiment on the bus ride to Fargo.
"It's just another tournament," Conrad said. "Yeah, it may have a state title attached to it, but all in all, it's just another wrestling tournament. You got two losses and you're out so we just try to approach it like any other weekend."