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Published February 20 2010

ND CLASS A STATE WRESTLING: West Fargo ends Bismarck's 10-year title run

They did it.

The West Fargo Packers snapped Bismarck’s 10-year run as North Dakota Class A state dual tournament champions with an exciting 36-30 win against the Demons on Friday at the Fargodome.

“That’s pretty exciting,” Packers coach Kayle Dangerud said. “I’m just really happy for all our wrestlers and fans. That’s a big accomplishment they just did.”

Packers freshman 160-pounder Preston Lehmann twice played the role of hero, pinning opponents in the final matches of the semifinals and the finals to send the crowd into a frenzy.

Lehmann sent Bismarck’s Kip Jangula to his back at 4 minutes, 29 seconds to break a 30-30 tie. The win made the Packers the first team other than Bismarck to win the title since duals became part of the state format in 2000.

Lehmann, the brother of University of Minnesota recruit and Packers 189-pound standout Tyler Lehmann, put West Fargo into the final with a pin of Bismarck Century’s Landon Schmidt at 1:17. The Packers slipped past the Patriots 36-35.

“This was what we wanted to do,” said Preston Lehmann, who will wrestle for the 160-pound individual crown today. “… Best day of my life so far.”

West Fargo (15-0) looked to have the championship locked up as it built a 30-11 advantage against the Demons with five matches remaining.

However, Bismarck came roaring back to knot the dual with wins by Dustin Brendel (135), Joe Schumacher (forfeit at 140), Ethan Dockter (145) and Drew Spaulding (152).

The whole time, Preston Lehmann was waiting patiently for his turn.

“It was a good run,” Bismarck co-coach Scott Knowlen said. “We knew it was going to be an exciting dual. … Kip wrestled with heart. Preston, man is he one of the most dangerous high school kids I’ve ever seen. It’s not on Kip, that is for sure. It was a team effort by West Fargo, that’s for sure. They have a solid team and I take my hat off to them.”

Bismarck beat Fargo South 36-27 earlier in the day to reach the finals.

South rebounded with a 36-24 victory against Century for third place.

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