BISMARCK - It didn't happen until the state championship match, but Olaf Hanson finally figured out Waylon DeCoteau.
Hanson, a senior at Fargo North, lost twice in the regular season to Turtle Mountain's 220-pound junior. DeCoteau led 1-0 through the first two periods, but Hanson exploded in the third and took the Class A title with a 9-6 decision.
"We just been watching and taking notes and strategizing and seeing what I can take advantage of," Hanson said, "and just took advantage of the opportunities I was presented with and it helped me out a lot in the end."
DeCoteau was in control through the start of the third period. Hanson started down and couldn't get an initial escape because DeCoteau pushed a foot high and drove the big Spartan out of bounds. The second try was successful and a takedown and reversals followed for Hanson to go ahead 7-3.
"Hanson had his hands low a lot," TM coach Derrick Dixon said. "We had nice leg shots for him before. We weren't able to get that going on him. It's one of those matches - just state finals, anything can happen."
DeCoteau improved on his sixth-place finish last year. His last match as a sophomore ended similarly as he entered that one having beat Minot High graduate Demetrius Roby twice earlier in the season.
"I'm pretty satisfied with how far I got," DeCoteau said. "There's always next year."
DeCoteau was especially upbeat about the Braves' third-place finish in the Class A team tournament. Bismarck High edged West Fargo 254-252, but no one else was close to start the final day. TM was in a tight pack for third and finished strong to hold off Davies and Century. The Braves finished with 131 points, the Eagles had 110.5 and the Patriots 109.5.
"I'm so proud of my boys, especially the guys who put in the work and are there every day," DeCoteau said. "We're hungry to get better at wrestling. It's sad that we're losing six seniors."
Dixon, the Class A Coach of the Year, saw the final day play out about as best as it could throughout his lineup. Grant Laducer (132), Tanner Crissler (138) and Geraldo Fox (160) all won their final two matches of the tournament for third-place finishes. Eugene Fleetwood Jr. (152) was fourth, Chris Longie (120) and Brandon Rodriguez (182) were fifth, Jesse Rodriguez (195) was seventh and Tyson Keplin (285) took eighth.
"We're a small school, probably one of the smallest in Class A, and we're competitive year in and year out, so it says a lot about our community too," Dixon said. "We're young, but we're gonna be pretty decent, if guys do what they should do in the offseason."