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B-G-MR teammates Vacura, Evans push each other to success

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Badger-Greenbush-Middle River's Zach Evans tries to break free of Jamestown's Damien Krebs during a 285-pound wrestling match Friday afternoon at the annual Sertoma Wrestling tournament at Grand Forks Central High School. Photo/Nick Nelson, Grand Forks Herald2 / 4
Grand Forks Central head wrestling coach Jeff Welsh (center) celebrates a Knights' point over Fosston in the first round of the annual Sertoma Wrestling tournament Friday afternoon in Grand Forks. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald3 / 4
Wrestlers compete in the annual Sertoma Wrestling tournament Friday afternoon at Grand Forks Central High School. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald4 / 4

Dominik Vacura sits atop the Class A 220-pound weight class in the latest Minnesota high school wrestling rankings. That doesn't mean the sophomore dominates in his own practice room.

Vacura matches up on a regular basis in workouts with Zach Evans, a junior and the No. 5-ranked 285-pounder by The Guillotine, Minnesota's amateur wrestling website.

"He's always pushing me,'' Vacura said. "I can never score on him. I come home at night sometimes wondering how I can score on him. It gets frustrating at times.''

The two picked up wins Friday as Badger-Greenbush-Middle River opened the annual Grand Forks Sertoma dual tournament with a 37-29 first-round win over Jamestown. Vacura won by forfeit, while Evans scored a 2-0 victory against Damien Krebs.

"It's definitely an advantage to have a practice partner like Dominik,'' Evans said. "We push each other to work harder in practice. So when we go out on the mat for matches, we can push to work harder.

"We're good buddies. We joke around. But there's a time to get serious -- when practice starts.''

Veteran Badger-Greenbush-Middle River coach Todd Bergeron said two quality wrestlers who are close in weight is a formula for success.

"From what I've noticed through the years,'' Bergeron said, "good partners come in pairs. If you look throughout the state, you often see guys on teams who are good in back-to-back weights.

"Dominik and Zach are lucky to have each other as teammates. It makes all the difference, having somebody in the practice room pushing you to a higher level.''

Bergeron said Vacura and Evans are similar in that both are good athletes, both are multi-sport athletes and both dedicate time in the offseason to wrestling.

On the mat, their styles differ.

"Dominik is pretty dominant on his feet,'' Bergeron said. "He's more of a takedown guy who scores more points.  He use a lot of the Greco-Roman and freestyle stuff he works on in the summer. Zach is just solid all-around. He's tough to score against because he gets good position and doesn't get himself in trouble.

"They're both aggressive and physical. If they get somebody on their back, they usually finish the job and get a pin.''

Vacura already is a two-time state tournament placer, finishing sixth last season and fifth as an eighth-grader. Evans was a state tournament qualifier last season.

Being ranked statewide can be a plus or a minus.

"It puts a target on your back,'' Vacura said of being No. 1. "You know everybody is looking to knock you off. But I want to keep that No. 1 spot. It keeps me motivated.''

As for Evans, he's one of the wrestlers looking to knock off the ranked wrestlers ahead of him.

"It helps me to know that I have to work harder,'' Evans said. "My goal is to be better than the guys ranked ahead of me.''

Meeting the challenge for both Vacura and Evans will be more attainable because they meet each other every day in practice.