Ten Killdeer wrestlers are statebound

State tournament gets under way this weekend

The wrestling room at Killdeer High School is dark now. In fact, all the wrestling rooms around the state are dark. Except one.


The lights are on and the mats rolled out for the 2017 North Dakota High School Wrestling Championships at the Fargo Dome in Fargo. The three-day tournament got under way on Thursday and will run through Saturday.

And the Killdeer Cowboys will be there. The Cowboys are taking 10 wrestlers to the big dance, including Region 4 champions Cole Dukart, Dillan Jepson and Rope Smith.

The first two rounds of the tournament were wrestled on Thursday. The consolation rounds will be held today, beginning at 9 a.m. Mountain  Time. The semifinals are scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Action will resume at 9 a.m. on Saturday with consolation matches. The finals will start at 2 p.m.

The Cowboys made their push for state at the Region 4 tournament on Feb. 11 in Beulah. They placed second in the tournament 179 points. Hettinger/Scranton won the tournament with 206.5 points.

“We’re peaking at the right time. It was our best performance of the year,” said Killdeer co-head coach Daniel Kerr.

Killdeer rebounded quite nicely from its fourth-place finish at the Region 4 Team Dual tournament on Feb. 4 in New Salem.

The performance at the dual tournament “motivated them to perform after that emotional loss,” Kerr said. “They just stepped up. In practice last week, there was a lot of determination.”

There still is. Several wrestlers who didn’t qualify for state showed up at practice and worked out with their teammates, preparing them for the big show.

“It was fun last week, but we still have a job to do,” Kerr said. “We have to finish right.”

Led by their trio of champions, the Cowboys had a dozen wrestlers place in the individual regional meet – including five in the finals and four in the third place matches.

Jepson, a state medal winner the past two season and currently ranked second in Class B at 182 pounds, defeated Watford City’s Connor Dennis 11-6.

Dukart defeated Delaney Lester of Standing Rock 13-5 in the finals at 152.

Smith stopped Shane Forster of New Salem-Almont by a 4-2 score in overtime at 195 pounds.

Zach Anderson made the finals at 138 pounds but fell to Ethan Lagge of Beulah-Hazen 16-13. And Curtis Hall was a finalist at 285, but Watford City’s Jackson Faller scored a pin in 3 minutes, 33 seconds for the title.

Dylan Tabor (138) and Tony Kluver (160) each placed third while Hunter Kluver (120) and Tommy Hall (220).

Ean Larsen (106), Jayden Kicks (113), John Tomjack (145) and Kurtlyn Hall (170) each placed sixth.

The top four placers qualified for the state tournament.

But the Cowboys got an extra boost Wednesday morning when the coaching staff learned that Tomjack was named to the state tournament.

Although the freshman placed sixth, he got the nod when the fourth-place wrestler got hurt and fifth-place wrestlers was also unable to attend the state tournament.

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