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Skyler Ford takes 7th in Class B wrestling...

They say truth is stranger than fiction and Skyler Ford is living proof that it’s a true statement.

2/19/19 (Tue)

They say truth is stranger than fiction and Skyler Ford is living proof that it’s a true statement.

Ford, who wrestled at 152 pounds for the Kenmare-Bowbells-Burke Central Honkers this season, finished fifth in Region 3, but attended the North Dakota Class B Wrestling Tournament in Fargo last weekend anyway since his brother Maverick was wrestling at 120 pounds.

It was Wednesday night about 9 p.m., and Ford and teammate Payton Witt, who also finished fifth in Region 3, were enjoying pizza in their hotel room.

About that time, head coach Danny Mogren knocked on door and Ford answered with a piece of pizza in his hand.

Mogren had just returned from the Class B coaches meeting where he was informed that Des Lacs/Burlington’s Walter Winkler, who finished fourth in Region 3 and qualified for state, got pulled from the pool because of a team violation, catapulting Ford into the state tournament as an alternate.

That was 9 p.m., Wednesday night and Ford was on the bracket to wrestle about 9 Thursday morning.

Mogren said Ford’s eyes got bigger than he’s ever seen them and at first, his state-bound wrestler didn’t believe it. Ford was completely caught off guard.

“I was shocked and surprised, but happy I was wrestling at state,” Ford said.

After it all sank in, Ford got on an exercise machine in the hotel and went to work to burn the calories he just put on eating pizza.

“I knew this was something that was seriously going to happen,” he said. “I had to make the best of my second chance.”

Thursday rolled around and Ford got on the mat with Nathan Schauer of South Border, crushing the Ashley wrestler in a 37-second pin.

“Skyler just happened to be there because of Maverick,” Mogren said. “He lost to him (Schauer) by a wide margin in the East-West Tournament, but this time, Skyler put the kid on his back and it was all over.”

All Ford wanted to do was wrestle.

“I went in wanting to take advantage of the opportunity given to me,” he said. “And I wanted to have fun.”

That put Ford in the championship quarterfinals where he met up with Josh Irwin of New Salem, who would eventually finish second to Jordan Sours of Lisbon.

Irwin pinned Ford in 1:37 sending him into the consolation bracket.

Ford said he was competitive against Irwin, but he got the better of the Kenmare grappler.

“He’s a tough kid,” Ford said. “I put him on his back and he put me down. I just got caught.”

That’s where he met Riley Frieze of Bowman and hammered him like Schauer in a 10-1 major decision.

“Riley was a big guy and strong,” Ford said. “It was hard to keep him on the bottom. I had to win that match in order to place. Afterward I hugged my coach and my family.”

Consolation round 3 was a tough match for Ford as he was narrowly defeated by Brett Wendel of LaMoure in a 9-6 decision.

Ford said it was two good wrestlers and it just came down to who got more take downs.

Despite the loss, it guaranteed Ford either seventh or eighth and as luck would have it, he drew Brady Volk of Rugby who kept Ford from going to the state tournament in the first place with a 14-8 win over Ford in Region 3.

Not this time! Ford took the long way getting to this point and he wasn’t going to be stopped again.

“Skyler was hungry,” Mogren said. “He got his redemption.”

Ford went right to work on Volk and although the match went the distance, his 11-3 major decision win left no doubt Ford was the better wrestler on Saturday, finishing the season with a win and seventh place in North Dakota Class B wrestling.

Honker wrestling alum Ben James, who is one of the Honkers biggest fans, was in Fargo and saw Ford go through the tournament.

He was certainly pleased how it all turned out and emphasized how important a fifth-place finish can be.

“Skyler made the most of his opportunity, winning three matches to place seventh,” James said.  “Call it fate, luck or whatever you choose, his last match was against Brady Volk of Rugby. Skyler went on to defeat Volk by major decision of 11-3 to earn his 7th place, ending his season with a victory.”

Maverick Ford

The 120-pound Maverick Ford lost to the No. 3 seed Isaac Felche from Harvey.

That paired him up in the consolation round with Matthew Keena of Pembina County North, a match in which Ford pinned Keena in 4:12.

In round 2 of the consolation the younger Ford met up with the No. 4 seed in Luke Leshuk of Hillsboro.

Leshuk defeated Ford in a 12-3 major decision, ending his 2019 season.

Mogren said Ford handled the pressure of the state tournament well, despite being an eighth-grader.

“Maverick wrestled very well against the Harvey kid and then handled Keena in consolation,” Mogren said. “He wrestled the No. 3 and the No. 4 and did well. He beat two other kids during the season who placed.”

Lathan Stroklund

On the mat at 138-pounds, Lathan Stroklund has state experience picked up one win in the Fargodome.

He lost his first-round match to Ethan Hammons of New Salem in a 5:31 pin, then turned it around to pin Carter Parsons of Grafton in 2:31.

That moved him into the second round of the consolation bracket where Hettinger’s Carlos Martinez defeated Stroklund in a 9-1 major decision.

Mogren said there was a major change in Stroklund’s bracket as well that threw a monkey wrench into Stroklund’s focus.

“We knew who we were wrestling on Monday,” Mogren said. “Lathan was on the mat, getting ready and one minute before the match, the bracket got changed and we had to rethink the whole process.”

Zane Miller

Zane Miller was the fourth and final Honker to make it into the state tournament.

His weight division was 220 pounds and unfortunately, Miller drew Cade Merrigan of Central Cass, the No. 1 wrestler in the state.

Despite that, Miller wrestled well, according to Mogren, losing in a pin in 3:51.

In the consolation round, Miller met up with No. 8 Jeremiah Jesperson of Velva, a wrestler he knows well.

Jesperson pinned Miller in 46 seconds, effectively ending Miller’s season at 15-17.

“The guys wrestled well,” Mogren said. “It was a good state tournament. I couldn’t ask anything more of those kids. They gave 100 percent.” ... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!