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Tom Mix, Published February 15 2013

West Fargo edges Bismarck in Class A team dual title

FARGO – Pins at 220 and 195 pounds – the first and final matches – proved to be vital in West Fargo’s successful North Dakota Class A dual title defense on Friday at the Fargodome.

West Fargo posted a 31-26 win over Bismarck at the state wrestling tournament to earn its second consecutive dual championship. The Packers have won three dual titles in school history, and like their first championship in 2010, Friday’s matchup with the Demons came down to the final match.

Senior Preston Lehmann pinned Bismarck’s Willie Sam in 1 minute, 18 seconds to seal the win for the Packers.

It was a familiar spot for Lehmann, who scored the decisive pin in West Fargo’s 2010 matchup with Bismarck that ended the Demons’ run of 10 dual titles.

“I have been in that situation before in my freshman year,” Lehmann said. “I had a little more experience going into this match. I didn’t put too much pressure on myself. I know the team is looking for me to get a win of course, but I just had to treat it like any other match.”

Prior to Lehmann’s pin, Bismarck had taken a 26-25 lead when Drew Kary scored a 12-4 major decision over West Fargo’s Tanner Kuznia.

During that match, Lehmann was pacing along the Packers bench waiting his turn.

“We feel really good about this win,” West Fargo head coach Kayle Dangerud said. “We lost the flip and we didn’t get the matchups we wanted so for our guys to perform the way they did was a big accomplishment.”

The Packers (20-0) received a big lift in the dual opening bout when Zach Eider pinned Bismarck’s Tommy Sease in 3:41.

“That was absolutely huge,” Dangerud said of the opening pin. “He started it off. Getting those bonus points was big. He wrestled (Tommy) Sease in the individual tournament and won by one or two points. He came out and got the pin to start the dual out in a great way for us.”

Bismarck co-head coach Scott Knowlen also realized the importance of the 220-pound match.

“That pin at 220 was big for them,” Knowlen said. “We were hoping if anything we would lose by a regular decision. So starting from the very first match it was going to be a tough prospect. After that in order for us to beat them, it would almost need the perfect senior. It didn’t happen, but I’m still proud of our guys.”

West Fargo scored a total of three pins in the match. The third was picked up by sophomore 120-pounder Jordan Shearer, who pinned Jaden Fettig in 3:01.

“Bismarck is always a really good team, and we have been back and forth with them the last couple of years,” Shearer said. “So to come out here and win is just incredible.”

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