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Published February 19 2010

ND Class A state wrestling: West Fargo has big performance in duals

The first round of the North Dakota Class A state dual wrestling tournament went according to plan for top-ranked West Fargo.

Well, it may have gone even better than expected.

The Packers earned victories in 11 weight classes, and received eight pins and a technical fall en route to a dominant 62-17 victory against Dickinson on Thursday at the Fargodome.

West Fargo will take on the West’s No. 2 seed Bismarck Century at noon today for a berth in the final.

“It’s just a good start,” Packers coach Kayle Dangerud said. “It’s good to get the first match out of the way and get warmed up. We’re happy with the way we started.”

No wonder.

West Fargo (13-0) opened with a pin by nationally ranked Scott Schiller against Ryan Yates at 285. Both wrestlers were moved up from 215 for the matchup.

The Packers needed less than five minutes to earn consecutive pins at 103, 112 and 119.

Tommy Kuehn scored a technical fall against Ryder Peterson at 125 to give the Packers an almost insurmountable lead.

“We knew they were going to be tough coming into it,” Dickinson coach Cody Wolf said. “We knew that the odds were definitely against us in this dual. It was just nice to make the state tournament and represent the West again. … They are just downright tough.”

On the other side of the bracket, 10-time defending dual champion Bismarck cruised to a 57-18 victory against Fargo North. The Demons will take on Fargo South in the semifinals.

Bismarck, ranked No. 2, benefitted from seven pins.

Was the dominant win a message to the rest of the state that the Demons aren’t ready to give up the dual title just yet?

“We wanted to beat them pretty handily as we could,” said Nick Nelson, who opened the dual with a pin of Chase Muhonen in one minute. “We just wrestled our matches and that worked for us.”

South built a big lead before allowing Turtle Mountain to close the gap in the end. The Bruins advanced with a 40-36 win.

The Braves received pins at 171, 189 and 215 to end the match.

“I am glad we are advancing to the second round, but I wasn’t happy with our team effort,” South coach Lynn Forde said. “That is kind of how we’ve been this year. We’ve been kind of underachieving as a team.”

Century defeated Wahpeton 60-12 to advance to the semifinals.

Dillon Solberg (119) and Pat Rollins (125) were the only wins for the Huskies. Rollins earned the 119-pound individual title a year ago.

West Fargo is looking to become the first team to unseat Bismarck since the dual event became part of the state tournament in 2000.

“We started good and had favorable matchups at the lighter weights,” Dangerud said. “It makes the other guys, the guys that are not supposed to win the match, work so much harder.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562