NEW ENGLAND - Thursday night was special for Tate Nordby.
While wrestling for Dickinson High at his native New England High School, the senior stepped on the mat for the final bout of the evening. In the opening 15 seconds of his 160-pound match against Mandan's Konnor Nelson, Nordby earned four points with a take down and a near fall.
His aggression and drive to score continued through six minutes, and at the final buzzer, Nordby led 14-6, earning the only major decision of the night and sealing Dickinson's 49-15 victory over Mandan on Thursday, Dec. 6.
"It isn't even the match, that's not the biggest thing," Nordby said of the night. "It's getting the whole community to come in and watch. It means a lot to me. Win or loss, it's still a really big deal to me that all these guys got to come in and watch me. A lot of my friends that came tonight, it's the first dual that they've ever been to of mine."
Going into the final round, Nordby, who is ranked second in the state in his weight class, led 9-3. He started the round in the bottom position and earned an instant escape at the whistle. While he took down Nelson moments later, the Mandan junior escaped, bringing the score to 12-4. Not even allowing Nelson to take a new breath, Nordby struck again, earning another pair of points with the take down. In the final ticks of the clock, Nelson took control, earning a final two points with a reversal.
"I always go in to my matches trying to score points," Nordby explained. "If they score points on me, it doesn't really phase me because I know that my technique is better and I know that even if I get behind, they get a takedown on me, at the end of the match I'm going to have more points than them."
While Nordby closed out the night with confidence and style in his own high school, he wasn't the only Midget with a special win. In the 132-pound fight, No. 3 Jaren Berger emerged victorious, capping off his 18th birthday with a pin with 18 seconds left in the second round.
"It was really special for those guys, especially since they're both seniors," head coach Pete Dobitz said. "Tate's Dad wrote a nice letter that we read to the boys before the match, just about how close Tate has gotten with these boys. I think it's really special that Jaren is a senior and I think he's really tight with Tate. It's just a special moment for both of them."
Mandan, a team with many skilled grapplers, ultimately didn't have the numbers to compete, as the Midgets earned 24 points just in open weight classes.
The Braves came away with four wins though, the most prominent in the heavier weight classes.
In the 220-pound match, Mandan senior Jacob Boehm dominated, showing why he's ranked No. 1 in Class A in his weight class. Dickinson senior Kameron Clark, who is ranked No. 3 in the 195-pound class, took an early 2-0 lead, but Boehm jumped out with an escape and a takedown to take over 3-2. From there, Boehm tacked on more points with two more takedowns, earning the Braves first win of the night with a 10-4 decision.
In the heavyweight, or 285-pound fight, No. 4 Levi Haugen made quick work of Midgets grappler Logan Greenwood, pinning him in two minutes and 32 seconds.
Following the back-to-back Braves victories, 106-pound freshman Dawson Richter took to the mat for the Midgets, squaring off with Mandan eighth-grader Evan Fleck. With two takedowns and a point awarded for the opponent stalling, Richter shutout Fleck 5-0.
"He really showed as a young wrestler, he's light for his weight, coming out and setting the tone for those toss-up matches," Dobitz said. "Dawson did a really good job."
In the 113- and 138-pound weight classes, eighth-grader Henry Nelson and freshman Troy Berg each earned Dickinson points with narrow 3-1 decisions.
In both matches, both competitors were ranked, making for a long and hard-fought six minutes.
No. 6 Berg went into the final round down 1-0 to No. 2 Wil Kleinknecht, but an escape and timely takedown in the waning seconds, Berg earned the win.
No. 3 Caleb Usher recorded the only other Dickinson fall in the 170-pound matchup against No. 5 Jake Pulkrabek.
"We knew where they were tough," Dobitz said of Mandan. "We always look at matches that we think we're gonna win and what they're gonna win. They're called toss-up matches and there were about five or six of them tonight and I think we got four of them. Those are the matches that you need now to project where you're gonna be later on in the year."
Dickinson High 49, Mandan 15
106: Dawson Richter (D) dec. Evan Fleck (M), 5-0.
113: Henry Nelson (D) dec. Ben Kleinknecht (M), 3-1.
120: Josh Johnson (D) over open slot.
126: Brendan Johnson (D) over open slot.
132: Jaren Berger (D) fall Adam Wetzstein (M), 3:42.
138: Troy Berg (D) dec. Wil Kleinknecht (M) 3-1.
145: Ethan Fleck (M) dec. Mathew Meschke (D), 10-5.
152: Seth Berg (M) dec. Dexter Carpenter (D), 5-3.
160: Tate Nordby (D) maj. dec. Konnor Nelson, 14-6.
170: Caleb Usher (D) fall Jake Pulkrabek (M), 3:37.
182: Tanner Jarrett (D) over open slot.
195: Dickinson over open slot.
220: Jacob Boehm (M) dec. Kameron Clark (D), 10-4.
285: Levi Haugen (M) fall Logan Greenwood (D), 2:32.
WDA record: M, 1-2. DHS, 1-0.