February 22, 2023

Just My Opinion - Mary Kilen

Winter Weather And Tournament Season
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Old Man Winter is showing his face in North Dakota again. After all, it’s tournament time.
As I was preparing to head to State Wrestling last week, nasty weather made an appearance on Tuesday. It changed my travel plans as I decided to leave Stanley in the afternoon on Wednesday to at least be able to get part of the trip during daylight. Fortunately, the road conditions were much better on Wednesday. I stopped in Bismarck to call in to school board, visited with Amanda, Zach and the boy, had supper and got back on the road.
It might have been a bit colder again last week, but at least the weather cooperated and I made it back and forth to State Wrestling.
Sunday’s snow and Monday’s wind created some interesting conditions for teams and fans headed to the girls’ region tournaments. In parts of the state the Monday night games were postponed. Looking at the weather forecast for the coming days, I don’t know that it will get any easier.
The challenge comes as they are trying to wrap up girls’ regions and head directly into boys’ districts. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room, but somehow, they always seem to work it out.
Congratulations Wrestlers!
I spent Thursday and Friday at the Fargodome watching Stanley’s wrestlers compete at State. I know that every one of the wrestlers wishes they could have improved on their finish, but I want them all to know that we are proud of them and the effort they put into each match. The work starts in the practice rooms and continues through every match all season.
I watched both of our girls wrestlers, Kerrington Lee and Aubrey Locken, show up on the mat at the tournament. While the boys’ tournament splits into Class A and B, for the girls it is all one tournament. For Class B wrestlers that brings the additional challenge of facing off with Class A competitors. That being said, I’m proud of those girls. Kerrington’s season looked like it was over back in January with a shoulder injury. Her grit and determination saw her back in practice and on the mat at regions and state. Aubrey is a first year wrestler that qualified for state and won her second match during tournament action. That’s impressive for a girl that found the sport this year.
As for the boys, it was a tough first day for Cayne Rudolph and Ethyn Jessen who saw their season end in the wrestleback rounds. That being said, they were each one of sixteen wrestlers to qualify for state. They gave it all on the mat and for Ethyn, who hasn’t wrestled in years, he also posted a state tournament win.
Then there is Trey Bohmbach. He came in seeded sixth, but he lost his first round match. That meant the hard road to the placing rounds. He had to win three wrestleback rounds just to wrestle in the fifth and sixth place match. He is a dedicated kid and he made it. In the fifth place match, he had a rematch with the wrestler that beat him in the first round. I had the advantage of being mat side while he wrestled. I have some great pictures from that match, including at the end of the smile on his face as he knows he is about to win.
Freshman Cohen Bell came into the tournament ranked second. He was focused and took care of business in the first round, quarterfinals, and semifinals on Thursday. That meant his only match on Saturday would be for the championship. Facing the number one seed, Cohen had handed this wrestler his only loss of the season at East-West. Feist had also handed Cohen one of his only two losses of the season earlier in Rugby.
It was a battle. They wrestled to a 2-2 tie at the end of three periods. Sudden victory overtime is a brutal thing. The first wrestler to score wins. Unfortunately, the match didn’t end the way we would have liked, but it was some amazing wrestling to watch.
I  look forward to seeing where all of these wrestlers go next year. Kerrington will move on to MSU to wrestle, but the rest should be ready to go next year.