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Heath Hotzler, Published December 18 2008

Nord gets to 100-win mark fast

Lisbon wrestler Michael Nord would never make a big deal out of a personal accomplishment.

That’s why the sophomore –who attends Enderlin High School and competes for the Broncos as part of a cooperative program – just went about his business after recently reaching an impressive milestone.

So it’s up to us to give Nord a little love for reaching 100 career victories.

Let’s rewind for a second. Nord – a sophomore – has 100 wins.

That’s almost halfway to the North Dakota Class B record of 234 set by Levi Haugen of Minot Ryan in 2005.

At his current pace, Nord could reach 200 wins as a senior. The two-time state champion has 45 victories in each of the last two seasons.

“He gets out there and gets after it,” Lisbon coach Joe Kern said. “Now we’re getting into the stage of his career where we have to start dealing with the pressure and talk of him being a five-time state champion. We’ve already been hearing that.

“But you can’t be a five-time state champ unless you are first a three-time state champ.”

This kind of pressure is nothing new for Nord, a quiet individual who hates the spotlight almost as much as he loves to win on the mat.

As an eighth-grader, he scored a 3-2 win against May-Port-CG’s Derrick Rygg in the 103-pound title match despite entering the tournament as the No. 4 seed.

Nord defeated Oakes’ Josh Kelly 9-8 last year in the 119-pound championship after previously dropping three matches to his rival during the season.

“He doesn’t let anything get to him,” Kern said. “He handles it all very well. He doesn’t wrestle poorly because of pressure.”

The road to another state title will again be rough.

He’s wrestling at 135 pounds, where competitors will be bigger, stronger and faster than in previous years.

But he is also bigger, stronger and faster.

And he’s prepared for anything.

“He’s a very hard worker,” Kern said. “A very hard worker. And being as competitive as he is, he doesn’t like to lose. It doesn’t happen much. Last year, losing to Josh (Kelly) three times throughout the year motivated him to do things to improve and eventually beat him. That says a lot about what type of kid Michael is.”

Odds and ends

The Fargo South boys hockey team (5-0-1) became the only remaining overall undefeated team in the Eastern Dakota Conference with a 7-3 win against defending state champion Grafton-Park River on Tuesday. The Bruins and Grand Forks Red River are the only teams without a conference loss. … The Fargo North girls hockey team is averaging 5.8 goals per game during its 5-0 start. … Former West Fargo High School standout Brian McNeill, who just finished his senior season at NCAA Division II Nebraska-Omaha, will play in the Cactus Bowl all-star game on Jan. 9 in Kingsville, Texas. McNeill, who played two seasons for the Mavericks after a stint at North Dakota State College of Science, ended his career fourth on UNO’s all-time rushing list with 2,844.

Readers can reach Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562 or hhotzler@forumcomm.com. Hotzler’s blogs can be found

at www.areavoices.com