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Tom Mix, Published February 14 2013

Packers start fast in ND Class A state wrestling duals

FARGO – West Fargo wasted little time seizing control of its team dual quarterfinal matchup with Minot on Thursday at the Fargodome.

The East Region top-seeded Packers picked up wins in the first 12 matches of the dual and posted a 62-6 win over the Magicians during the North Dakota state wrestling tournament.

“We wrestled really well,” West Fargo head coach Kayle Dangerud said. “We won some important individual matchups that we most likely will see later on in the (individual) tournament. It just is a good way to start off the tournament.”

West Fargo, the defending Class A team dual state champions, advances to wrestle West Region, No. 2-seeded Bismarck Century in today’s semifinals. The team dual championship is set for approximately 7 p.m. today.

“It is good to get the first-match jitters out of the way,” said junior Kyle Kragnes, who pinned Minot’s Stephen Riordan at 152 pounds. “We all wrestled well. It just sets the stage for the rest of the day and rest of the tournament.”

The Packers (19-0) scored a total of seven pins in the dual and led 62-0 before Minot’s Demetreus Roby picked up a 4-3 decision at 220 pounds.

West Fargo junior Tanner Kuznia rallied to score a 10-8 decision over Minot’s Kimani Benjamin in overtime at 170 pounds. Trailing 8-7 with 25 seconds remaining the third period, Kuznia earned a one-point escape to even it up.

“I knew I had to pick things up,” Kuznia said. “I didn’t wrestle quite as well as I should have. I knew I could get away and take care of it. Time wasn’t on my side, so I had to hurry up and score fast.”

In overtime, Kuznia quickly got the two-point takedown for the sudden victory.

“Tanner is scrappy,” Dangerud said. “He is never out of a match ever, so we were very confident with 25 seconds left he was going to get out. I felt confident he would get the takedown in overtime and he did.”

Fargo Davies dropped its quarterfinal match to Dickinson 43-33.

The Eagles led 33-16, but Dickinson won the final five matches of the dual. Four of those final five decisions came by pins.

“We wanted to win that one to progress,” Fargo Davies head coach Keenan Spiess said. “That is why it so hard to take. I figured on paper, out of all the first-round duals, our dual with Dickinson would be the closest. Now we have to worry about the individual tournament and go from there.”

West Region top-seeded Bismarck defeated Wahpeton 50-18. Bismarck Century scored a 50-16 win over Grand Forks Red River.

The Demons wrestle Dickinson in the other semifinals matchup.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562