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Published February 20 2010

ND CLASS A STATE WRESTLING NOTES: Lehmann brothers advance to title matches

There is no sibling rivalry for Tyler and Preston Lehmann, just a common goal to become state champions in their final season as teammates.

Now each is one win away from making that dream a reality.

The West Fargo brothers – Tyler, a 189-pound senior, and Preston, a 160-pound freshman – each advanced to the individual finals during the North Dakota Class A state wrestling tournament Friday at the Fargodome.

“It makes for a lot more fun during the season,” said Tyler, who transferred from Minnesota wrestling power Apple Valley to spend his senior year with family. “Just knowing they are all there, all supporting each other is great.”

Preston, who was defeated in the state quarterfinals as a No. 2 seed as a Fargo North eighth-grader a year ago, credits Tyler with helping him take his wrestling to new heights.

He’s 37-5 following a pin of Minot’s Marcus Bausman in the semifinals.

It wasn’t smooth sailing for Preston, who trailed Bausman 5-2 after two periods.

However, he persevered by aggressively attacking his opponent to open the third.

“I was sloppy on my feet, wasn’t taking my shots good and getting out of position,” Preston said. “I just knew I had to get after it. I didn’t want to have any regrets. I just wanted to get it done with and get into the finals.”

Tyler, a University of Minnesota recruit who pinned Edward Wilkie of Turtle Mountain in the semifinals in 3:17, said he’s witnessed Preston transform into a force on the mat this season.

The brothers come to practice early and stay late to perfect their technique, Preston said. Nationally ranked Tyler is 40-0 heading into the finals.

“He’s helped me change my style and make it better,” Preston said. “His support has been awesome.”

North’s Shepherd not concerned with future

Fargo North eighth-grader Anjelo Shepherd is asked all the time about the possibility he could win a state-record six state titles.

But Shepherd said he isn’t thinking that far ahead.

“I just want to take it year-by-year,” said Shepherd, who earned the

103-pound state title a year ago and advanced to the 112-pound final Friday with a pin of Minot’s Cody Haugen. “I just want to focus on one year at a time. I just ignore it. I just wrestle hard and don’t care what people say.”

Shepherd (29-5) said he has some extra motivation to do well this season.

Shepherd’s uncle died during the East Region tournament, and the wrestler said he’s focused on winning the tournament to honor him.

“It was pretty tough on me,” he said. “I just worked hard in practice and thought about wrestling for him.”

Only three wrestlers in North Dakota have earned five career state titles: Lakota’s Dave Hilliard, Scott Glasser of Bismarck and Levi Haugen of Minot Ryan.

Takedowns

Bismarck enters the final day of the tournament with 164 points in the race for the individual team title. West Fargo is close behind with 160½. The Demons have five wrestlers in the finals, West Fargo has six. … West Fargo 125-pounder Tom Kuehn (No. 3) is the lowest remaining seed in the championships. … Fargo South senior Gerad Fugleberg pinned teammate Josh Schlicht in 59 seconds to advance to the 285-pound final for the second consecutive season.


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