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Published February 15 2012

Hillsboro wrestler ready for state

FARGO – Missing the state tournament last year still stings for Hillsboro-Central Valley junior wrestler Dylan Bowen. And a late-season rough patch this season could have made things worse.

However, Bowen – who went from ranked No. 1 at 170 pounds in North Dakota Class B to a No. 3 seed at state – has honed the ability to adapt and overcome any negative situation.

“If I lose, I know I just have to work that much harder to beat that person the next time,” said Bowen, who begins his quest for a state title today during at the North Dakota state wrestling tournament in Bismarck. “It makes me want to work hard to redeem myself.”

Bowen was cruising along this season when he hit a few snags that mentally brought him back to last year’s disappointment.

As a sophomore, he was looking forward to earning his first state tournament appearance when was suffered back-to-back losses in the Region 2 tournament.

Burros coach Eric Ptacek said Bowen took the losses hard. But he put them away quickly and began doing what he needed to do to come back stronger this season.

“At that time, he was thinking about not losing and he ended up losing,” Ptacek said. “He’s been focusing more on winning this season instead of worrying about losing.”

Bowen hit his first big snag this season in January when he was defeated in the quarterfinals of the East-West tournament in New Salem, N.D. He shrugged off the loss to finish third.

Bowen qualified for state last weekend with a win against Grafton’s Cody Kringstad in the semifinals of the Region 2 tourney. He was defeated 8-3 by Central Cass junior Mathew Totay in the finals.

“I wasn’t wrestling the way I usually do,” Bowen said of the finals match. “I wasn’t taking any shots. I should have wrestled better.”

Bowen doesn’t want any letdowns at state.

He’s focused on being ready for each match, and on wrestling the way that helped him become the state’s top-ranked wrestler earlier this year. He is seeded No. 3 at state.

“His goals are set in the right places,” Ptacek said. “His work ethic has been getting better each year, and he’s right where he needs to be heading into the state tournament.”

Bowen isn’t the only story of perseverance on the Burros roster.

Senior heavyweight Tom Doeden started wrestling as a freshman.

He only won six matches his first year at 215 pounds. Doeden lost twice at the state tournament to finish with a 6-23 record.

He dedicated himself to getting bigger, faster and stronger after that season. He has won 30 matches or more in each of the last three years.

He finished sixth at state as a sophomore and fourth last year.

This season Doeden is 41-1 with 35 pins.

“It’s been an incredible year,” Doeden said. “Every day I give it 100 percent in practice. I always have a focus going into tournaments. I’m only thinking about one match at a time.”

Doeden is the No. 2 seed at 285. The top seed is Seth Anderson of Rolla-St. John-Rolette, who is the only wrestler to defeat Doeden this season.

“This is a sport that is tough for anyone to jump into with no experience and have success,” Ptacek said. “He proved it can be done.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found

at www.areavoices.com