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Jeff Kolpack, Published October 22 2012

Lehmann brothers to be teammates with NDSU wrestling

WEST FARGO – It was a special state championship wrestling season in 2010 for West Fargo High School. The Packers ended Bismarck’s historic championship dual streak with a team that included standout brothers Tyler and Preston Lehmann.

At the time, Tyler moved back from Apple Valley, Minn., to be a part of a brother combination.

“I figured it would be the last chance to be on the same team with him,” Tyler said. “Now this happens.”

What happened? After two years away, Tyler Lehmann enrolled at North Dakota State this fall and Preston Lehmann, a senior at West Fargo, verbally committed to the Bison and will be a freshman next fall.

“The biggest reason for me was Tyler,” Preston Lehmann said. “With him signing, that pushed me over the edge.”

Tyler Lehmann’s path to NDSU was not a direct one. A North Dakota high school state champion in 2010, he signed a letter of intent with the University of Minnesota, but never enrolled there.

Instead, he opted to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo, which he calls “a great experience.” He won a pair of gold medals in the 2011 Junior Pan American Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“I got a chance to wrestle some of the best wrestlers in the country and in the world,” he said. “It helped me mature a lot faster and it showed me I had to work harder if I wanted to be better.”

He won’t be eligible until the second semester with NDSU and will be a freshman eligibility-wise. Meanwhile, he’s enrollled in school and working out with the team and will have a chance to compete at 197 pounds after Christmas.

“He’s extremely talented but still has a lot to learn,” said NDSU head coach Roger Kish. “He had a great high school career and now he’s stepping up to the college level.”

It won’t be easy to crack the lineup. NDSU returns senior Mac Stoll, who qualified for the NCAA Championships last season. Stoll originally said he was going to graduate last year, but opted to return for his last season.

“It crossed his mind (to graduate) but I think he got a taste of that excitement at the NCAA tournament,” Kish said. “His goals are set a lot higher this year.”

Tyler Lehmann said one of his big reasons for coming back to NDSU was to wrestle in front of his family. Once he returned, then he said Preston started thinking about attending NDSU.

Preston said he was impressed with Kish’s recruiting pitch and the fact a Division I wrestling school “is in my backyard” made it an easier decision.

“I’m glad he decided to do that,” Tyler Lehmann said. “I love wrestling with my brother.”

Ditto for Preston, who took unofficial visits to Ohio State and the University of Nebraska. He said the University of Minnesota also called, but nothing further came from that.

In the end, it came back to that 2010 season in West Fargo – and wanting more of that.

“We only got to wrestle one year together,” Preston said. “I wanted to continue that. It was a great year.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia