Thrice is nice: Minot comes up with three titles at West Region tournament

Minot would have preferred to send more than just a trio of its grapplers to the West Region tournament’s championship round.

But the Magicians made the most of their title-match appearances on Saturday at the MSU Dome.

To the delight of their home crowd, Cody Haugen (145 pounds), Dayne Haman (195) and Nick Nesdahl (heavyweight) all claimed region championships, helping Minot place fourth in the team standings.

Bismarck High (245 points) edged Bismarck Century (235) for team-title honors, while Turtle Mountain (164) and Minot (145.5) rounded out the top four.

The Magicians qualified 10 wrestlers into next week’s Class A tournament, which kicks off Thursday at the Fargodome.

They’ll also be the No. 4 seed in the dual portion of the state tournament, facing East No. 1 West Fargo in the first round.

“The West Region is a meat grinder,” Minot coach Nolan Spooner said. “We’ve got some of the top teams and it’s tough. A lot of returning place-winners. It’s crazy. We finished (this tournament) strong.”

Nearby Turtle Mountain of Belcourt also had a notable evening, finishing with a pair of winners in Waylon DeCoteau (220) and Grant LaDucer (126).

Haugen, Minot’s lone top-ranked wrestler, claimed his first region title after getting past Tate Hoffman of Bismarck in a 9-3 decision.

Winning it in his hometown made the feat especially significant.

“It’s nice being at home,” Haugen said. “We all got to sleep in our beds. It felt good. I thought we did well and this gets us prepared for next weekend.”

Haman’s 12-10 overtime win over Trace Moravec of Bismarck Century was a fitting end to his region ascendance.

Haman, who placed sixth in 2011 and fourth in 2012, also captured his first-ever West Region crown.

For a moment, however, it looked as if the senior was out of contention.

With Moravec hanging on to a 10-8 lead, Haman got under his opponent and tried to lift him. Moravec ended up falling on Haman’s chest, temporarily sidelining him.

“It was just a back spasm,” Haman said. “I just figured, ‘Why give up and not finish the match?’ “

From there Haman found his second wind to force overtime before coming away with the triumph.

“I’ve been working at this since I was an eighth-grader,” Haman said. “I finally got to my goal of winning it.”

Nesdahl also had to go to an extra session to claim his second consecutive West Region championship, getting past Shawn Greenwood of Bismarck Century 5-2 in overtime.

“It was nice to see the boys win those tough matchups,” Spooner said. “Our seniors have been through the wars, so they knew what it took.”

Minot’s Jorey Bartsch (120) and Jesse Hoffart (132) also had notable days, each finishing third. Demetreus Roby finished fourth.