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GFC's Roberts is comeback kid

Josh Roberts is a slow starter who's on the fast track to success. The Grand Forks Central junior is the likely No. 1 seed at 130 pounds in next Saturday's East Region wrestling tournament. Roberts, a state runner-up in 2006, has won 31 of his fi...

Josh Roberts is a slow starter who's on the fast track to success.

The Grand Forks Central junior is the likely No. 1 seed at 130 pounds in next Saturday's East Region wrestling tournament. Roberts, a state runner-up in 2006, has won 31 of his first 33 matches and is ranked first at 130 pounds in the Class A coaches state poll.

Roberts wins. But it isn't uncommon for him to come from behind. Seven times this season, he's given up the first takedown in a match.

"That's very unusual for a wrestler like Josh," Central coach Matt Berglund said. "You don't like to see him get down right away. But we don't panic when it happens. We've seen it happen so often. He's a strong finisher.

"Josh isn't a strong pinner (six on the season). But he gets a lot of technical falls and major decisions. He's a kid who can score a lot of takedowns. It's from his freestyle experience; he scores a lot of points there and it carries over into high school wrestling."

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Roberts has lost only once to a North Dakota wrestler. His only other loss came at the hands of a South Dakota wrestler.

Seeding for the regional will be done by coaches Friday, with the tournament at Fargo South, beginning 11 a.m. Saturday.

Berglund looks for 112-pounder Tyler Vacura (27-3) as also being a likely No. 1 seed, with Andrew Kennedy a possible No. 2 at 285.

"Tyler's paid his dues," Berglund said. "He put in a lot of time in the offseason. And being a junior at 112, he has an experience factor. You don't see a lot of juniors and seniors at 112."

Riders expect

two top seeds

Steve Klamm and Jake Cooley have different wrestling styles, but both have been successful. Grand Forks Red River coach Bruce Moe said they're the two most likely Roughriders to get No. 1 seeds in the East Region tournament.

Klamm is 25-3 at 125 pounds, while Cooley is 29-9 at 145.

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"Steve is a tough, hard-nosed kid," Moe said. "He's very physical. And he has good technique and can wrestle with finesse, too. He's a good all-around wrestler.

"Jake has lots of unorthodox, funky moves. He does things that most wrestlers don't, or can't, do. When he's rolling around with somebody on the mat, he's usually the one who comes out on top. He ad-libs as he goes."

Luke Schieve also is a potential No. 1 seed if he wrestles at 215, but he also could opt up to 285. Moe looks for Josstyn Richter at 103, Jayden Richter at 130 and Paul Ericson at 160 as likely second seeds.

"We won't have a lot of No. 1 seeds," Moe said. "We're behind good people at weights with some of our better kids."

Wave hoping to

open at home

Chad Grassel has been with the East Grand Forks Senior High girls hockey program's coaching staff for six seasons, the last three as head coach. Grassel is hoping to get his first taste of a home playoff game in that span.

The quarterfinals of the seven-team Section 8A tournament will be held Friday. Coaches will vote on seeding this week.

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"We should be fourth or fifth, but you never know," Grassel said. "We figure to be somewhere in the middle of the pack, and we're hoping for a home game."

Regardless of where the Green Wave play, they'll have to muster more offense if they hope to advance. The 9-15-1 team has scored only 48 goals.

Emily Pecka (nine goals, seven assists) leads the offense, followed by Hilary Kujawa (five, six), Chelsea Morin (six, three) and Alex Hedlund (six, four)

The Wave have been competitive with a defense anchored by goalie Ashley Pavlish (.89 save percentage, 3.0 goals-against average).

"Offense is where we're really struggling," Grassel said. "We've had opportunities to score, but we haven't been able to finish. The girls are working hard. They're getting frustrated because they're not being rewarded for those efforts. We have been inconsistent as far as being able to put together three solid periods in a game."

Central hall

to add seven

Grand Forks Central has selected seven new members to be inducted into its athletic hall of fame.

Induction ceremonies will be at 2 p.m. on Feb. 13 during a school pep rally. The inductees will be recognized in a public ceremony that night between the Red River-Central boys and girls basketball games.

The seven new selections are:

-- Vince Ames, coach: Ames served as Central's co-head wrestling coach with Duane Hennessy from 1975 until 1997. Their teams won six region championships and had five top-five finishes at the state tournament. Ames also was cross country coach at Central from 1973-81, where he coached two-time state champion Jim Herberg.

-- Arnold Bakke, significant contributor: Bakke was a Grand Forks school administrator from 1955 through 1989. He spent many years as a starter and staging marshal at track meets and was one of the original volunteers who helped organize and run the state combined Class A-B track meet in Grand Forks. Since his retirement, Bakke has continued to be a supporter of Central athletics, particularly football.

-- Brooks Bollinger, athlete: A 1998 Central graduate, Bollinger is a quarterback for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. He was a four-year football starter and a two-time all-state football player at Central, leading the team to second place in the 1996 state playoffs. He also played on the 1996 state championship basketball team and was an all-stater in that sport and was a standout shortstop for the Grand Forks American Legion baseball team.

-- Duane Hennessy, coach: Hennessy was a wrestling coach for 38 seasons, the last 29 as co-coach with Central. Teams coached by Ames and Hennessy had a 248-149-4 overall dual record. They coached 23 region champions, 52 EDC champions and eight state champions. He also spent time as Central's football coach.

-- Jay Panzer, athlete: A 1994 Central graduate, he was a member of a state championship hockey team as a junior and state runner-up teams as a freshman and a senior. He also played tennis for six seasons at Central, winning a state doubles title with his brother, Jeff, in 1992.

-- Norma Polovitz Nickerson, distinguished alumni: A 1974 Central graduate, she was a track athlete and a cheerleader at Central. Prior to attending graduate school, she became the first woman to hike the Continental Divide, a total of 2,700 miles from Mexico to Canada. As an active researcher in the field of tourism and outdoor recreation, she has authored many articles.

-- Greg Schneider, athlete: A 1967 Central graduate, he was a three-sport athlete, competing in basketball, football and track. As a senior, he led the Central basketball team in scoring and rebounding. He went on to play football at UND and played semi-pro football in Wisconsin for two seasons.

Reach DeVillers at (800) 477-6572, ext. 128.

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