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Unique situations unfold for Kenmare, Burke Central wrestlers

A couple of unique situations have developed in the Honkers wrestling camp and head coach Danny Mogren is turning it into an opportunity.

11/29/16 (Tue)

Kenmare and Burke Central wrestlers . . . A combined Burke Central and Kenmare wrestling program includes back row from left; Yumar Garcia, Victor Garcia, Tyler Burtch, Lathan Stroklund, Josh Baumann, Payton Witt, Michael Schlosser and Zane Miller. Front row from left; Diontre Anderson, Logan Hirfendahl, Lynndon Feldner, Jaxson Holter, Andrew Christensen, Wry Miller, Sheldon Skar, Ayden Beckedahl and Nicolai Topolski.

By Marvin Baker

A couple of unique situations have developed in the Honkers wrestling camp and head coach Danny Mogren is turning it into an opportunity.

The first, and perhaps the one with the most magnitude, is that at least four wrestlers from Lignite have joined the team, sort of!

Yumar and Victor Garcia, Josh Baumann and Maels Arvilla, all come to Kenmare each day to wrestle on the mat and get instructions from Mogren and assistant coach Nick Timm, who is acting Burke Central coach.

The situation is that these kids won’t be able to compete as Honkers, according to the North Dakota High School Activities Association, because a request for a co-op agreement was denied, having been submitted too late.

That means Mogren’s hands are tied and all he can do is allow them to practice with the Kenmare grapplers and hope that each team improves throughout the season.

“Until September, it was Nick and I,” Mogren said. “But the way it worked out with Lignite, He’s the Burke Central coach and I’m the Kenmare coach. We had discussions on what we were going to do. The paperwork didn’t work out right, but I’m glad the state let us take them anyway for practice.”

Mogren, who has been coaching wrestling for 20 years and participated as a wrestler prior to that, said he has only seen a similar situation one time.

“Twenty years a ago, a Glenburn kid wanted to wrestle, and he was a pretty good wrestler,” Mogren said. “He ended up wrestling as a one-man team. That’s the only time I remember that happening.”

As a result of the Burke Central students not being in a co-op, when they compete, they will be scoring points for Burke Central, even though they practice with Kenmare and travel with the Honkers.

Had the co-op materialized, according to Mogren, he would have been able to fill every weight class, except 189 pounds.

As it is, there are currently six Kenmare varsity wrestlers, which will make it a challenge to win matches.

The other unique situation is that Mogren had seven sixth-grade kids report to practice.

And much like with the Lignite students, they are restricted, but in a different way.

The North Dakota High School Activities  won’t allow sixth graders to compete at a varsity level.

So in that respect, it’s just like the Lignite students, they can practice with the team, but in this case, won’t be able to compete at all, unless it is in their own age group.

As far as Mogren is concerned, those kids are part of the team, are in the team photograph along with this article and will re-energize the Honkers wrestling program, if not in one year, in two years.

“I look at our SunDawgs (Younger wrestlers) program and this is an outlet for them,” Mogren said. “Last week I took the sixth-graders to Minot. As far as I’m concerned, they’re part of this team and they deserve this recognition. They’ve been around me several years and they’re drilling with us and they’re still here.”

He added the veterans look at these young kids and realize it’s only going to help the team in one to two years.

So that boils it down to seven varsity wrestlers and Mogren is really hoping there are no injuries, because if there are, they could cripple this fledgling team.

“I had 22 kids showing up at the first meeting and five came to the first practice,” Mogren said. “There are no seniors and no juniors on the team this year.”

That means sophomore Michael Schlosser has accepted the leadership role amongst the wrestlers. Schlosser has some experience, having wrestled on the varsity squad at least the past couple of years.

“There are no seniors and no juniors,” Mogren said. “This has never happened in the 14 years I’ve been here. I can’t remember not graduating at least one wrestler.”

Beyond Schlosser, Tyler Burtch is the only other sophomore and  Lathan Stroklund and Payton Witt, both freshmen, are, in a sense, seasoned veterans, both coming off great seasons a year ago.

That leaves eighth-graders Nicolai Topolski and Zane Miller and newcomer Diontre Anderson.

“It’s definitely challenging up and down the slots,” Mogren said. “With this group, we have less than a half a team and the only way somebody moves (weight class)  is if they all move.”

Topolski and Miller are in a transition stage, so Mogren is going to wait and see what happens.

“Nicolai was 106 pounds last year and went to 120. That’s a big jump for an eighth grader,” Mogren said. “Zane was 170 last year and will be 220 this year. They both have heart and they just have to stick it out. Sometimes heart wins a lot of matches.”

The best thing Mogren can hope for is that his grapplers stay healthy all year, complete the season and stick together.

Injuries are the worst thing and could have a detrimental affect.

“These kids have good attitudes and are hard workers,” Mogren said. “The only thing stopping them is their health.”

Mogren is predicting Minot Ryan and Velva to be the lead teams in the region with Stanley being a maybe because of lingering injuries.

For the Honkers, Mogren said they could pin all their opponents and lose the match by 12 points because of open slots.

“With that said, it’s all about ourselves this year,” he said... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!