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Kevin Schnepf, Published February 20 2010

ND CLASS B STATE WRESTLING: Oakes captures team dual title

Deven Loepp, with ice packed around his hyperextended arm, had to watch his Oakes teammates claim a second straight dual championship Friday at the North Dakota Class B state high school wrestling tournament being held in the Fargodome.

He couldn’t help but cry when he injured his arm earlier in the day in a semifinal match that he amazingly won. But he couldn’t help but smile as Oakes claimed a 36-27 win over Carrington to claim another dual title.

“It feels great,” Loepp said. “It means that we work hard and we stay at it.”

That was the theme conveyed by Oakes wrestlers and head coach Cory Schall, who watched his team jump out to a 33-3 lead in the dual title.

“Wow, wow, wow,” said Schall, who quickly mentioned Rob Krueger, a standout who missed last week’s Region 1 tournament because of a bout with mononucleosis.

Even without Krueger and Loepp, the Tornadoes were able to finish the dual season the way they started it back on Nov. 24 with a 47-25 dual win over Carrington.

“We won it for Rob,” Loepp said. “He really wanted to be here but couldn’t.”

“He was a big part of our team,” said Ethan Plemel, who will take a 31-0 record into today’s 189-pound championship match. “The fact that we can still do it without him just shows how much heart this team has.”

And according to Schall, Loepp displayed the most heart he has ever seen at a state tournament after he hyper-extended his elbow during his 125-pound semifinal match with DesLacs-Burlington’s Matt Ruby. With the score tied 2-2, Schall wanted to pull Loepp – noticeably in pain – out of the match.

“He wouldn’t let me pull him,” Schall said.

With his sore left arm, Loepp produced a takedown and a two-point nearfall to build a 7-2 lead. He hung on for a 9-5 win – avenging last year’s 119-pound title loss to Ruby.

“I just didn’t want to let my teammates and fans down,” said Loepp, who with some wrap, ice and Ibuprofen will try to wrestle in today’s 125-pound title match.

While Oakes was wrestling without Loepp, Carrington was without Jordon Mittleider, a 171-pounder who suffered a head injury during his semifinal loss earlier Friday.

“But we still would’ve been the underdogs with him,” said Pazdernik, who said his team displayed “amazing” improvement since that season-opening dual loss to Oakes. “We had a super season. And the two best teams made it to the finals.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549