Young Magi wrestlers gain experience

BISMARCK – The Minot High wrestling program had five boys place at the state tournament led by eighth-grader Brody Armstrong’s fourth-place finish at 106 pounds. Armstrong dropped a 5-0 decision against Mandan junior Ryan Zachmeier in the third-place match on Saturday.

The Magicians finished with 50 team points, good for 14th place out of 18 teams.

The lowest weight was a strong point for the Magicians as sophomore Matthew Leier took seventh with a pin at 3:16 over Jaden Mairs of Fargo Davies.

“Any time you have underclassmen place and you know they’re coming back, it’s a good feeling,” MHS coach Nolan Spooner said. “Our goal would be a team title and that’s gonna start with the underclassmen stepping up. … We have eighth-graders placing and they come back and they have a state trophy. Not many eighth-graders place at state. Hopefully it causes a little more interest in our junior high program.”

Minot sophomore Ethan Benham took eighth place at 132 pounds. He dropped his final two matches, but advanced to the placing rounds with consecutive pins of Jamestown’s Kyle Dupre and St. Mary’s Austin Huck.

Minot eighth-grader Creighton Rudolph finished sixth at 138 and also got to the placing rounds with consecutive pins. The first was a pin over Fargo North’s Jackson Stremick with just eight seconds remaining in the first period.

Senior heavyweight Isaiah Crowe was the final Magician to earn team points with his sixth-place finish. Crowe lost in a quarterfinal match, but won three of his first four on the weekend.

“The kids came out and wrestled really hard,” Spooner said. “We wish we would’ve placed or scored a couple more. That first round of wrestle-backs that kind of hurt team-wise, but the kids stayed in it, stayed focused.”

Notes: Bismarck broke West Fargo’s streak of two straight titles and eked out a 254-252 advantage for the individual team title for Class A. … The Demons had five individual champions, including senior Ryan Blees (160), who finished his senior season 48-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country. Blees was named the Class A Wrestler of the Year. …Turtle Mountain coach Derrick Dixon was named the Class A Coach of the Year.