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EAST REGION WRESTLING: DiCristina shines for Riders

Grand Forks Red River's Arlo DiCristina took third place at the East Region wrestling tournament at 119 pounds last season. He was ranked fifth entering the North Dakota state tournament but came up empty at state.

Grand Forks Red River's Arlo DiCristina took third place at the East Region wrestling tournament at 119 pounds last season. He was ranked fifth entering the North Dakota state tournament but came up empty at state.

"I kind of messed up," he said. "I had an off match and didn't place."

He's bumped up three weight classes and is well on his way to redeeming himself this season. On Saturday, the junior won the 135-pound championship at the East Region tournament in the Grand Forks Central gym and is ranked second heading into the state tournament.

"I guess I lifted and ate a lot, and I grew," DiCristina said of the change in weight classes. "I'd say I'm wrestling a lot better this year, but the competition is still pretty tough."

Red River coach Bruce Moe said: "He's a tall kid. He lifted lots of weights this summer, so that was quite a change.

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"Obviously he's wrestling a lot better this year. I think a lot of that has to do with maturity and confidence."

DiCristina won a 9-3 decision over West Fargo's Anthony Charbonneau for the championship.

"I've been working out and preparing all season now it's just mentally preparing," DiCristina said. "I'm ranked No. 2 and Lucas Krueger (of Jamestown) is No. 1. I haven't wrestled him this year. That should be a good match."

DiCristina was one of three Grand Forks champions in the tournament. Teammate Alex Broderson placed first at 152 and Central's Mike Gavere was the 215-pound champion.

Broderson's match came down to the final seconds, as Nick Tollefson of Wahpeton made an escape with 30 seconds remaining for a 7-6 lead. Broderson got a takedown with 11 seconds left for the 8-7 win.

Gavere beat top-seeded J.D. McDougall of Fargo North in overtime. Gavere got a takedown in the sudden-death period to win 3-1.

"We lost to (McDougall) by one point in December," Central assistant coach Jeff Welsh said. "He's incredibly tough, and we hung in there."

The top eight placers in the tournament advance to state. Red River had 15 qualifiers, while Central had 11.

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"We were hoping for eight or nine qualifiers, so we did a little better than we thought," Welsh said. "Almost every guy wrestled to their seed or above their seed."

West Fargo placed first as a team with 216 points, followed by Fargo South with 201. Red River placed third with 191. Central finished seventh (102 points) and Devils Lake eighth (77).

Central's Josh Roberts, the No. 1 seed at 130 pounds, was upset in the final seconds of his match against third-seeded Cameron Ramberg of West Fargo. Roberts made an escape for a 4-3 lead, but Ramberg had a takedown as time ran out for the 5-4 decision.

Sean Ballard of Devils Lake defeated Red River's Jake Cooley for the 160-pound title. Other area top-three finishers included Red River's Josstyn Richter (second at 103 pounds), Nash Hanevold (second at 140), Jayden Richter (third at 130), Paul Ericson (third at 145) and Jared Espe (third at 189); Central's Jerrod Peterson (second at 125); and Devils Lake's Brock Davidson (third at 125).

West Fargo's Kayle Dangerud won the East Region coach of the year award and Wahpeton's Justin Solberg was the East Region's outstanding senior wrestler. Solberg and Central's Josh Roberts are the East Region nominees for the senior athlete of the year award.

The state tournament begins Thursday in Bismarck with team duals and first- and second-round individual matches.

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