The 2013-14 North Dakota prep wrestling season is in full gear and it’s time for me to start my weekly notebook chronicling the grappling scene in the state. Here’s the first notebook of the season.
The first Class A poll was issued Nov. 25 with Bismarck being picked as the top team. … Defending state team and individual state champions West Fargo were picked second. … The Demons returned 163 points from last year’s state tournament and have three wrestlers – Kael Knowlen (120), Ricardo Galindo (152) and Ryan Blees (160) – are all ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes, the most in the state. … In my preseason interviews, West Fargo head coach Kayle Dangerud said the West Region will be very formidable this winter. … West Region teams occupy five of the top six spot in the Class A poll, which should make for interesting matchups in the West Region team dual tournament later this season. … West Fargo is favored to win the East Region. … The Packers have two wrestlers – junior Jordan Shearer (138) and eighth grader Jared Franek (106) – ranked No. 1. … Shearer is a four-time state champion. … Other metro grapplers that are top-ranked include the Fargo Davies senior duo of Cole Alexander (170) and Hunter Swenson (285). … Fargo North senior Olaf Hanson is ranked No. 1 at 220 and is the defending state champion at that weight class. … Valley City senior Zac Doty in ranked No. 1 at 195 pounds.
I just received the first polls of the season from the four regions earlier this week and Class B should be quite competitive across the state. … The Forum’s coverage area spans across Regions 1 and 2, which are always good for plenty of interesting matchups. … Looking at the individual rankings, Region 1 is going to be balanced. … Thirteen of the 14 Class B team dual champions have been from Region 1. … Oakes, Napoleon, South Border and Lisbon each have three wrestlers ranked No. 1 in their weight classes with Linton-HMB rounding it out with two top-ranked grapplers. … The Mustangs are defending team individual state champions and have won the last three team dual crowns. … Tyler Toepke (113), Joel Weber (145) and Nash Bettenhausen (152) are South Border’s top-ranked wrestlers. … Oakes’ two returning state champions Erik Loepp (132) and Cole Ehrlin (170) are top ranked along with 285-pounder Michael Kelly, who took third in the heavyweight class as a ninth-grader last season. … The Broncos wrestling room is always busy this time of year and Joe Kern’s bunch will be led by senior Dylan Urbach, who won the 145-pound state title last season. … Urbach is ranked No. 1 at 160-punds this season and is joined by teammates Grant Johnson (126) and Wyatt Smith (220) as No. 1 ranked grapplers in Region 1. … Region 2, at least in the early going, appears to be heavily dominated by Carrington, who defeated Class A valley City 56-21 on Thursday. … The Cardinals have five No. 1-ranked wrestlers – Joe Bakke (126), Chaz Bauer (132), Walker Carr (145), Billy Holton (152) and Riley Lura (182) – in the region. … Central Cass has Austin Rust (113), Nathan Volk (120) and Kyle Schultz (160) ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes.