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Royal McGregor / Forum News Service, Published February 14 2014

South Border extends ND Class B state dual wrestling title streak to four

BISMARCK – Carrington head wrestling coach Josh Kerbaugh said it’s tough to win a state title while giving up a forfeit. He was right.

The Cardinals gave up a forfeit at 220 pounds, and South Border used it to its advantage.

The Mustangs went on to win their fourth straight North Dakota Class B state dual crown by defeating Carrington 34-33 on Friday at the Bismarck Civic Center.

“We figured it would be like between one and three points,” South Border co-head coach Dwight Schilling said. “This group of kids just kept digging and they found a way to win.”

Carrington opened the dual with three straight wins, which gave the team a 15-0 lead.

South Border countered with eight straight wins to grab a 34-15 lead. The dual clinching match was after senior Tyler Toepke-Floyd defeated Tyler Hoggarth in a 12-0 major decision.

However, Toepke-Floyd said it wasn’t just him who clinched the match. It was everyone on the team.

“I’ve always tried to be a leader on our team, and I know all of our other seniors have stepped up in other spots,” he said. “Everybody knows when it’s their job to step up they are going to do it. They do, and that’s what has made it for us the whole year. Everybody steps up when they have to.”

South Border senior James Thielges, who has been on the varsity team since he was a seventh-grader, said as soon as he woke up he knew it was going to be tough day.

Thielges is the No. 1-seeded wrestler at 220. He jumped one weight class to 285 and pinned Tyrell Larsen in 5 minutes, 8 seconds. Thielges was going for the pin the entire time.

“Right away when I walked there, our coaches said we needed the pin,” he said. “That was my mindset the whole time. I didn’t want to get anything but a pin.”

Kerbaugh told his team after the dual, the thought process has to be on wrestling in the third and final day of the tournament.

“We just have to keep our heads up and come back (today),” he said. “These tournaments are like roller coasters. There’s always at least one bad round.”

The Cardinals rushed out to a 28-0 lead in the first five matches of the dual semifinals against Lisbon.

Lisbon responded with winning five of the next six, but it wasn’t enough as Carrington closed out the dual with three straight wins. The Broncos finished in fourth place.

South Border didn’t breeze past Pembina County North in the semis. The Mustangs held on for a 38-33 win.

Looking for some revenge

There’s one blemish on Cole Ehrlin’s season record. The senior from Oakes has a 26-1 record.

Libson senior Joe Nelson handed Ehrlin the loss during the Region 1 tournament on Feb. 8. Despite having a loss on his record, Ehrlin said it may turn out to be a positive.

“I almost consider it a good thing to get a loss, because it keeps me grounded and it makes me realize how much harder I had to work in the last three practices before state,” said Ehrlin – the defending Class B 170-pound champion.

Ehrlin doesn’t have to wait long to see Nelson again. The two face off for the 170-pound Class B title today.

“(Today) will be my last match ever,” Ehrlin said. “We work hard for all the tournaments throughout the year, but everything we do in practice all year we are doing for this tournament.”

Central Cass’ Rust sees similar face in finals

Central Cass senior Austin Rust spent 3:09 to pin Minot Ryan junior Wyatt Ledoux during the 113-pound semifinals.

After the match, Rust watched the other semifinal match between Pembina County North’s Brett Verville and Carrington’s Mathew Neumiller.

Whether Verville or Neumiller won, Rust knew each of them quite well, because all three wrestlers are from Region 2. Verville defeated Neumiller 9-2 to meet Rust in the state title match.

Rust’s record against Verville and Neumiller are a combined 6-0 with three wins against each.

Though Rust is confident entering the state finals, the senior knows he can’t take anyone lightly.

“I just have to stay focused and not overlook over anybody,” he said. “Anything can happen at state.”

McGregor writes for the Dickinson Press