Late win gives Magi edge over Braves

The chip on Nick Nesdahl’s shoulder entering the final and deciding match of Minot High’s dual with Turle Mounain was about the size of the 285-pound brute.

Class A’s third-ranked heavyweight wanted to make a statement against sixth-ranked Tyson Keplin and give his club a payback win in the process.

Last year’s loss to Turtle Mountain fresh in his memory, Nesdahl bull-rushed Keplin at the opening whistle and used an atypical method to eventually win by decision and give Minot a 36-35 win on Friday night.

“My adrenaline was just coursing through me,” Nesdahl said. “I felt like I had something to prove. If I would have pinned (Keplin) last year, we would have won. But tonight we got the win.”

His team trailing by two points, Nesdahl, who usually wins his matches by way of head snaps, took a shot at Keplin, taking him to the ground which helped lead to his Senior Night 5-0 triumph.

“I usually don’t (shoot),” said Nesdahl, who also beat Keplin by decision a year ago. “That was something new for me. I’m trying to add things to my arsenal.”

The West Region match saw ten of 14 matches won by pin. Two the four decisions, including Nesdahl’s win, were crowd-pleasers.

When Minot’s Jesse Hoffart and Grant LaDucer locked up at 132 pounds, Turtle Mountain’s third-ranked grappler was having his way.

Late in the third-round, though, when it appeared LaDucer had vanquished fourth-ranked Hoffart, the budding Minot senior switched roles.

Hoffart, on his back in the final seconds, got out of the jam and took down LaDucer for a dramatic 9-8 win.

“That’s entertaining wrestling right there,” Minot coach Nolan Spooner said. “We go from being on our back to scrambling for a win. Class A wrestling at its best.”

Turtle Mountain coach Derrick Dixon echoed Nolan’s sentiment.

“The (132-pound) match could have gone either way,” Dixon said. “But, overall, it was just a really exciting match. I felt a couple matches could have gone our way, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.”

It took Turtle Mountain 170-pounder Ron Azure overtime to take down Minot’s Kimani Benjamin 5-2, making up the rest of the taut matches of the evening.

The two teams traded leads throughout match, which also served as Cancer Awareness Night for Minot.

Despite a slow start, the Magicians, donning pink ribbons on their singlets, were fortunate enough to have Nesdahl come away with a win at the end.

“I felt we gave up too many pins early,” Spooner said. “But the guys in the middle (weights) came and righted the ship.”

Minot concluded the regular season and will be gearing up for regionals on Feb. 9 at the MSU Dome.