Published February 17 2012
South's Schlicht moves onBISMARCK – Fargo South senior Josh Schlicht was sidelined for the first half of the wrestling season while recovering from knee surgery.
However, the heavyweight hasn’t let it derail him from his goal of earning a state title.
Schlicht pinned top-seeded Bryan Bjerk of Grand Forks Red River in 1 minute, 20 seconds Friday to earn a spot in the finals of the North Dakota Class A state wrestling tournament at the Bismarck Civic Center.
“It was probably Thursday of this week when I finally felt that I was fully back and had a good match going,” said Schlicht, who will face Minot’s Nick Nesdahl today in the championship match. “It’s hard to ignore the pain. You just have to go out there and do it.”
Schlicht, who entered the tournament 14-4 and with the No. 4 seed, appeared to be in trouble when Bjerk attempted a takedown near the edge of the mat.
Schlicht used his momentum to roll Bjerk to the mat and get the pin. It was Schlicht’s third consecutive first-period pin of the tournament.
The win was Schlicht’s first in three tries against Bjerk this season.
“I just got myself psyched up,” said Schlicht, who first injured his knee last year before tearing an MCL earlier this season. “I warmed up really well and got myself going. I just had to focus on how he has beaten me before and avoid those situations”
Schlicht now turns his attention to Nesdahl, a No. 2 seed who slipped past Brandon Sandberg of Williston 3-1 in the semifinals.
“I just have to go hard and have patience in my match,” he said. “I think I’ll do all right.”
Lehmann continues to dominate all opponents
West Fargo’s Preston Lehmann has learned a lot from his older brother Tyler.
Like the art of domination.
Preston pinned Grand Forks Red River junior Jared Bertsch in 21 seconds to advance to the 182 pound finals. Last year’s state champion at 171, Preston has pinned each of his three tournament opponents in the first round.
“I want to dominate every one of my opponents,” Preston said. “I want to pin everyone in the first period. Nothing less than that will do.”
Tyler Lehmann wrestled for Apple Valley in Minnesota before transferring to West Fargo for his senior season in 2010. He was a University of Minnesota recruit before heading to the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado.
On a break from training, Tyler occasionally helps out in the West Fargo wrestling room.
He was at the state tournament, and sat with Packers coach Kayle Dangerud at the side of the mat for Preston’s semifinal match.
“He taught me that you have to be aggressive out there,” Preston said of Tyler. “You have to be mean. You have to go out there, push guys around and show them who’s boss.”
Preston said he’s on a mission to dominate in the finals, where he will face Bismarck junior Drew Kary.
“Being a No. 1 seed, you can’t stop at that,” he said. “You have to go out there and push yourself each day or you are not going to get to the next level. It starts here. I want to leave no question out there that I am the best 182-pounder”
Shepherd falls in semifinals
Three-time state champion Anjelo Shepherd of West Fargo was defeated in the semifinals to end his bid to become the first wrestler in North Dakota history to win six titles.
No. 6 seed Alex Lindsey of Dickinson beat Shepherd 4-3 to reach today’s final.
Shepherd, a sophomore, wrestled with a significant ankle injury that appeared to hamper him throughout the match.
He was limping severely, and had to take an injury timeout in the third period to deal with the pain as he sprawled out on the mat.
Shepherd injured the ankle during his quarterfinal match against Mandan’s Adam Stein.
South’s Swanson to enter Hall of Fame
Former Fargo South standout Dusty Swanson can add Hall of Famer to an already impressive list of wrestling credentials.
Swanson is one of six that will be inducted today into the North Dakota wrestling Hall of Fame. He will also be honored before today’s championship finals.
“It’s a great honor,” said Swanson, who has been a Bruins assistant coach since 2003. “I have been around North Dakota wrestling for so long now. I’ve been to every North Dakota state tournament since 1991. It’s going to be really fun.”
Swanson won three Class A state titles at South from 1996-98. He finished 128-28 during his high school career, and was named North Dakota’s Mr. Wrestler as a senior.
He wrestled at North Dakota State from 1998-2003, and was one of just 12 wrestlers to qualify for the World Team Trials at 97 kilograms in 2005.
Swanson will be presented into the Hall by former South coach Lynn Forde.
Former Bismarck and Minnesota State Moorhead wrestler Rhett Hilzendeger, former Jamestown Middle School coach Bill Kelly, Dickinson Wrestling Club coach Rick Mellmer, former Hettinger wrestler and coach Chuck Seamands and former Ellendale wrestler Rich Voegeli are the other Hall of Fame inductees.
“It’s something I never would have thought I would have gotten into,” Swanson said. “It’s really nice to get in.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter
Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.
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