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Class B Wrestling Roundup: Hettinger-Scranton's youth movement

Hettinger-Scranton wrestling head coach Randy Burwick instructs his team during practice on Wednesday, Jan. 2, from Hettinger High School. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)

Through 37 matches, Hettinger-Scranton's Kyle Burwick is closing in on his second consecutive undefeated season. At 126 pounds, the senior is in search of his fifth straight state championship to cap his magnificent high school career.

As Burwick's dominance continues, it's the younger grapplers on the Night Hawks wrestling team who are picking up their work on the mat as of late.

"My young guys are really starting to understand that they're capable of wrestling at the varsity level," Night Hawks head coach Randy Burwick said. "I have at anytime five freshmen in the lineup and I think what I'm seeing from those five kids is they are starting to believe that they are capable of wrestling at a high level. ... I'm seeing some kids start to wrestle with some good confidence, and I love what I'm seeing right now."

On Jan. 4, Hettinger-Scranton placed third in its home tournament, the Hettinger Classic, and captured sixth place at the Cowboy Invitational in Miles City, Mont., the following weekend. Burwick notes the team overall is starting to get healthier after several Night Hawks began the season banged up; two of those wrestlers are 132-pound freshman Cade Warbis and 160-pound junior Ty Warbis. Sitting with a record of 14-7, Cade Warbis has responded nicely from a back injury early in the year, while Ty Warbis, at 16-11, is getting stronger after breaking his arm during the football season.

"It's actually been maybe a blessing for them," Randy Burwick said. "Ty's had to adjust a few things of what he's normally used to doing. He's had to change a little bit of his style and so has Cade. I think it's helped them develop some more things in their arsenal and become more tactical wrestlers."

One weight class above Cade Warbis is 138-pound freshman Gavin Dailey, who owns the team's second-best record at 21-8. Meanwhile at 126 pounds, freshman Conner Andress is second on the team with 15 pins. Dailey and Andress were two of the five Hettinger-Scranton wrestlers to place at Miles City, each taking seventh.

"Conner was my 106-pounder a year ago, so it's been an adjustment for him to learn to wrestle at a bigger weight. ... What I've seen him progress with throughout the season is that he's technique has gotten better," Randy Burwick said. "He rides better and his top wrestling has improved simply because he has to work a little harder.

"Gavin is a kid that I think he can be a superstar. He's got a lot of the intangibles that you need and is just a gritty, tough kid. He's a little unorthodox with his style, but he's learned to wrestle his style very well. ... His ceiling is amazing and is just going to keep getting better and better."

With a record of 19-10, freshman Peyton Tuhy also places seventh in the event at the 103-pound weight class.

Hettinger-Scranton will travel to Wyoming on Friday, Jan. 18, to take part in the Moorcroft Mixer and as the team gets healthier, the youth are showing their talent and the postseason soon approaching, Randy Burwick is only worried about what he can control.

"I think the big thing about us is that we can't worry about anybody else. Obviously, its an old cliche, but we got to take care of what we do best," Randy Burwick said.

Badlands Classic an opportunity for Cowboys to shine at home

Coming off an 11th-place finish during the Panther Booster Wrestling Tournament in Rugby last weekend and a sixth-place finish at the Hettinger Classic the weekend before that, the Killdeer wrestling team will get the chance to showcase its talents from the comfort of home.

With 15 high school teams from North Dakota, Montana and South Dakota scheduled to appear, the Cowboys will host the first ever Badlands Classic, beginning on Friday, Jan. 18, and concluding on Saturday, Jan. 19.

"They're excited to get to perform in front of their family and friends without traveling an hour or two hours to another tournament," Killdeer head coach Pat Schlosser said. "They've never really had the opportunity to do that except for duals, which we've only had two home duals this year, or if we host a regional tournament. So I think they are kind of excited about that."

Killdeer will enter its home tournament with four wrestlers that placed in each of the last two tournaments, highlighted by 106-pound seventh-grader Gus Bombach. Bombach took first place in his weight class at Hettinger after earning a 2-0 decision over Bowman County freshman Cade Martian before taking second at Rugby, dropping the championship match to Central Cass freshman Jake Deutsch. After beginning the season at 113 pounds, the seventh-grader has adjusted to his new weight, compiling a 25-12 record.

"He works really hard. Everybody works hard, but this kid takes it to a new level," Schlosser said of Bombach. "Just to get to 106, it wasn't real easy for him. It was something he decided that he wanted to do and he's done a great job with it. ... He's only a seventh-grader, but you'd never know that with the way that he wrestles."

On the other end of the experience spectrum are Dylan Tabor, at 145 pounds and heavyweight Curtis Hall, at 285 pounds. The duo serves as the Cowboys' lone seniors and have taken up the leadership responsibilities.

"That was something that they had to work for, but in saying that, we you have to work for something, it has a little more meaning when it doesn't come so natural," Schlosser said. "They've done a great job, they both go out there and they're fearless and wrestle their match. ... Their teammates see that and they build off of it."

Tabor is 19-13 this season, while Hall is tied for the team lead with 29 victories. Hall was one of three Killdeer wrestlers to earn victories at Hettinger, along with 160-pound sophomore Zach Andersen, who carries the team's best record at 29-6. His last victory came after defeating Devils Lake junior Parker Vilandre via 5-4 decision.

"He's fun to coach. The thing about him is that everybody does a decent job of trying to fix where they need work. Zach does a good job of fixing where he needs work, but he also puts effort into what he's already good at," Schlosser said. "There's a lot of kids, once they start doing well at something, they start focusing on their weaknesses, which he does, but he also focuses on what he's good at, which makes him so good."

Patrick Bernadeau

Patrick Bernadeau is a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press. He can be reached at his office number (701) 456-1211 or email him at pbernadeau@thedickinsonpress.com. Joining the Dickinson Press in July 2017, he was previously a freelance sports writer for Treasure Coast Newspapers (TCPalm.com) in Stuart, FL as well as carrying bylines from the Associated Press, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, Florida Today and Naples Daily News. Prior to his move to Dickinson, he resided in Port St. Lucie, FL, earning a Bachelor's Degree from Florida Atlantic University. Patrick was born and raised in Brockton, Mass and is an avid Boston sports fan. Born to Haitian parents, Patrick's favorite meal is Griot with Banana Peze, Pikliz (Fried pork with smashed plaintains and a spicy vegetable relish) and a tall glass of Cherry Coke.

(701) 456-1211
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