PREP WRESTLING: Grand Forks moves eight into semifinals

BISMARCK -- Grand Forks Central has landed four wrestlers in the semifinals of the individual portion of the North Dakota state Class A wrestling tournament and two of those teammates will be facing each other.

Grand Forks Central wrestling
Grand Forks Central 138-pounder Alex Randle ties up with Jacob Rader of Bismarck Century on his way to a 5-3 decision during the State Class A Dual Tournament. Forum Communications photo.

BISMARCK -- Grand Forks Central has landed four wrestlers in the semifinals of the individual portion of the North Dakota state Class A wrestling tournament and two of those teammates will be facing each other.

Grand Forks Red River, meanwhile, also advanced four wrestlers into the semifinals Friday at the Bismarck Civic Center.

For the Knights, No. 2 seed Bryce Fish and No. 3 seed Erik Jones will go at it at 152 pounds.

"It'll be a case of the coaches just stepping aside and letting them settle it on the mat," Central coach Matt Berglund said. "They're two really good guys, and they're good friends. There isn't any bad blood between them and there won't be after the match. They're two great wrestlers that just happen to be on the same team at the same weight."

The Knights also advanced No. 4 seed Kalik Battle at 113 pounds and No. 1 T.J. Poole at 160 pounds.


"(Poole) has been looking strong," Berglund said. "He had two solid performances today, and he's looking to ride that momentum into tomorrow."

The Roughriders advanced No. 4 Jared Bertsch (182), No. 3 Drew Brekhus (195), No. 1 Bryan Bjerk (285) and No. 3 Billy Rerick (145).

Knights fall in dual

Central won six matches in its quarterfinal dual against Bismarck Century, but the Patriots overpowered the Knights 40-22 to advance to the semifinals.

Battle, Jones, Fish, Poole, Seferino Hernandez and Alex Randle won matches for the Knights.

West Fargo, the No. 1 seed in the East Region, got the start it wanted with a 58-6 victory against Turtle Mountain-Belcourt during first round action. The Packers will take on Williston today in the semifinals.

"I thought we came out and wrestled aggressively," West Fargo coach Kayle Dangerud said. "We wrestled our match and dictated the pace. We have to maximize everything we have. If we do that, things will fall wherever they do."

It wasn't that the Packers won Thursday. That part could have been expected after a standout regular season in which the team finished 19-0 in duals.


It was the way West Fargo won, dominating almost every match along the way. The Packers pinned their opponents in six of 14 matches.

"The scoreboard tells it," said West Fargo junior 182-pounder Preston Lehmann, who pinned Brandon Rodriguez in 1 minute, 54 seconds. "We don't want to win by just a little bit, we wanted to go out there and pin and dominate everybody who steps on the mat."

Turtle Mountain-Belcourt's victories came from Wyatt Azure at 160 and Skyler Poitra at 220. Azure is a No. 2 seed and Poitra a No. 1 seed in the individual tournament.

West Fargo will now match up with another team that scored a runaway win in the first round.

Williston took care of Fargo Davies 58-15.

The Coyotes recorded eight pins against the Eagles, who with the dual already out of reach, emptied the bench in the later matches.

Williston has three wrestlers seeded in the top two of their individual weight classes. West Fargo has six seeded in the top two.

"We matched up horribly with them, truthfully," Davies coach Keenan Spiess said. "We lost big to them earlier in the year. This is a first-year program. We go to the state tournament, and got second in the region individual. We are just going to try to do well in individuals and hopefully get a couple state champs."


Perennial state title contender Bismarck cruised past Wahpeton 60-11 in the other first-round dual.

Wahpeton junior Ethan Meide injured his neck against top-ranked and top-seeded Ryan Blees during the 138-pound dual match against Bismarck. Meide was in significant pain after the incident, and a backboard, neck brace and stretcher were used to take him off the mat. He was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.

Huskies coach Kelly McNary said Meide will not be cleared by doctors to wrestle in the remainder of the tournament.

Meide was having neck spasms, and doctors believed he would be at greater risk for further injury, McNary said.

Meide did return to the Civic Center on Thursday night to walk with his Wahpeton teammates in the parade of athletes.

"You always hope you can come in, compete hard and walk away healthy, too," McNary said. "It's unfortunate. But at least he's all right."

What To Read Next
Get Local