Grapplers get second chance at big dance

They missed going to the 2017 North Dakota High School Wrestling Championships as a team.

Now the Killdeer wrestling team will be trying to do it as individuals.


The Cowboys will be competing in the Class B Region 4 tournament on Saturday at Beulah High School.

The top four placers from the tournament will qualify for the state tournament in the Fargodome   in Fargo. The state tournament is slated to run Feb. 16-18.

The Cowboys were seeded third in the dual tournament last week in New Salem. They received a bye in the quarterfinals and faced Bowman County in the semifinals.

It was the second time in three days that the Cowboys faced the Bulldogs. Bowman County defeated Killdeer in a dual on Feb. 2 during a quadrangular at Hettinger/Scranton.

Bowman County defeated Killder at the quad, and  then knocked off the Cowboys in the regional tournament. Barely.

Bowman County erased an 8-point deficit in the final two matches to score a 36-35 victory.

The dual was as tight as your can get. Both teams recorded seven victories.

The difference, however, was decided by pin falls. Bowman County  had four and Killdeer had three.

On the strength of three pins, Bowman County jumped out to a 27-16 lead before the Cowboys reeled off four victories to take a 35-27 lead.

Tony Kluver sparked the run with a pin over Mitch Stuver at 170 pounds, followed by victories by Kurtlyn Hall (182 pounds), Dillan Jepson (195 pounds) and Rope Smith (220 pounds).

But the Bulldogs countered with a hard-fought 3-2 decision by Tristen Peterson over Curtis Hall at 285 pounds.

Tucker Strant secured the victory for Bowman County by pinning Ean Larsen in 4 minutes, 10 seconds at 106 pounds.

The loss put Killdeer in an elimination match against New Salem-Almont.

The Cowboys took advantage of four forfeits and won eight matches to post a 48-28 victory and advance to the third-place match against Beulah-Hazen.

In the third place match, Beulah-Hazen went on a pinning spree to secure the victory in a 51-30 decision.

Beulah-Hazen won six of its nine matches by pin. Two victories were by forfeit and the third was by decision.

Zach Anderson (138), Cole Dukart (152), Jepson (182), and Smith (195)  recorded pins for the Cowboys. Anderson pinned Rylan Sago in 1:13, Dukart stuck Aaron Ripplinger in 36 seconds, while Jepson pinned Damian Eslinger in 57 seconds and Smith did the same to Thomas Leintz in 1:24. 

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