Youth give hope to Cowboy wrestling future

For years, Killdeer’s wrestling program was one of the elite ones.


For the Herald

Posted Feb. 15, 2013 

BOWMAN –  Sophomore Tanner Rohde, the lone Cowboy champion during the Class B Region IV Wrestling Tournament Saturday, is one reason why it shouldn’t be long before Killdeer is back near the top.

Rohde used a late flurry to dispose of Matt Newman of New Salem-Almost to capture the 132-pound weight division with a 16-9 decision.

With 31 seconds left in the championship match, a two-point reversal cut Rohde’s lead to 11-9. In the final 10 seconds of the match, Rohde tallied five quick points and a regional crown.

The closeness of the match only made it that more enjoyable for the sophomore.

“Very much so,” Rohde said. “I like close matches because it means so much more when you get the win.”

A year ago, the Cowboys captured four regional championships, but graduation took a tremendous toll.

In fact, this year’s Killdeer squad doesn’t have a single senior on it.

“It is different this year,” Rohde admitted. “We don’t have all the guys like we are used to having in years past.”

Rohde won the Bowman Rotary Invitational earlier this year and placed third at the Hettinger Classic.

Prior to the start of the championship matches, each grappler making the finals completed a form, which included accomplishments. “Making weight” was one of Rohde’s “major accomplishments.” One of the other items he listed brought a smile to many in the building, including Rohde during his match.

“Having the best looking coaches,” he listed.

A perennially power on the mat, the Cowboys placed an uncustomary fifth in the team standings at the regional tournament. Hettinger took top team honors with 218.5 points while Bowman County, enjoying the first year of a coop with Beach, finished second with 173 points. Beulah-Hazen and Watford City finished tied for third with 147 points apiece while Killdeer followed with 124 points.

For Rohde, he would like to start the progression to “elite status” for the Cowboys with a strong showing at the State Tournament at Fargo this week.

“I am going there with the idea to get some upsets,” he said.

Rohde won’t be alone in his quests for upsets at the “Big House.” Joining him at State are seven of his teammates. In fact, two of his teammates reached the regional championship, but fell short in their title quests.

At 170, top-seeded eighth-grader Daniel Arthur fell to Micheal Longland of Bowman County. At 195, junior David Dukart fell to Gauge Harrison of Standing Rock.

Also qualifying for State for the Cowboys were:

Cole Dukart, a seventh-grader, who placed fourth at 113;

Jace Horner, an eighth-grader, who placed fourth at 120 (losing a one-point decision);

Derek Tabor, a freshman, who placed third at 126;

Dillan Jepson, an eighth-grader, who placed third at 160; and

Colten Turner, an eighth-grader, who placed third at 220.

In all, the Cowboys advanced a seventh-grader, four eighth-graders, a freshman, a sophomore and a junior.

And, if Rohde and his teammates are successful in “pulling off a few upsets,” the Cowboys’ return to wrestling prominence might be even shorter than expected.

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