Braves get area’s only A finalist

BISMARCK – Waylon DeCoteau has never felt anything quite like this. The Turtle Mountain junior is wrestling for a Class A state championship today.

“All the hours in the morning, doing the extra work all summer long is paying off and it feels great,” DeCoteau said. “I was pretty nervous going into my semis. I lost to the guy this year. I was really nervous and didn’t expect to win.”

The No. 2-seeded DeCoteau was the only area wrestler to advance to a Class A final Friday. He jumped to a 5-0 lead in the second period against No. 3 Jordan Magnuson of Valley City. Magnuson scored a takedown with 90 seconds remaining and added another on an escape, but couldn’t move DeCoteau late.

“We know he likes to throw legs in on top and just knew what to look for,” DeCoteau said. “I just waited for my time. I kind of messed up my ankle the week of regionals and didn’t expect to wrestle and kind of cranked on it. It was kind of hurting and I saw the head and just thought, ‘Take it.’ “

Returning state champion Olaf Hanson of Fargo North awaits DeCoteau in the final. DeCoteau picked up two wins against Hanson this year.

“He wrestled tough right through the end,” TM coach Derrick Dixon said. “He’ll come ready. He’ll have his ‘A’ game, I can promise you that.”

Dixon was also pleased to see his team take third in the duals with a 39-29 win over Century. The Braves are hoping to finish third in the individual team standings, too. Dual champion West Fargo also leads in the team standings with 218 points. Bismarck High, the dual runner-up, is second with 206. TM is a distant third at 91 and will have to hold off a tight group of Fargo Davies, Century and Dickinson in 80s.

“We have a bunch of guys in the wrestle-backs and we want to make sure that they come back with those thirds, too,” Dixon said. “We’re not done yet.”

Minot High’s lone competitor in the individual semifinals – 106-pound freshman Brody Armstrong – fell in the second round to West Fargo eighth-grader and top seed Jared Franek.