Minot Magi clinch state tourney spot
Determined to join Williston and Bismarck High on a trip to the upcoming Class A state boys’ wrestling dual tournament, Minot High and Legacy went to war on the mats Tuesday night on a mission to pin down one of the final two positions remaining in the West Region.
On a night centered around raising cancer awareness and honoring the life of Linda Anderson, lover and supporter of Minot and Des Lacs area wrestling for over 30 years, the Magic City Campus saw the Minot High Magicians (12-6 overall, 6-2 West Region) overpower the Legacy Sabers (12-4 overall, 5-4 West Region) in a dramatic 39-28 dual victory to punch their ticket to the next stop on the road to a state championship.
From the onset, the wrestling fervor of the Sabers and Magi fans had the Magic City Campus gym bursting at the seams with energy, as cheers of support from both sides rained down loudly upon the competitors as they took to the mat for action.
Minot High jumped ahead early thanks to a 6-1 decision win by Luke Mortensen in the 106-lbs weight class to give the Magi a 3-0 advantage before Legacy retaliated with consecutive wins in the 113-, 120-, and 126-lbs weight classes to claim a 15-3 edge.
Unshaken, Minot High punched back in the next two matches, as a poised Gabe Mortensen (132) and Daniel Fernandez (138) converted their composure into points via pinfalls to knot the dual at 15-15.
After seeing the Sabers notch four points in the 145-lbs weight class match to take a brief lead, fans in attendance bore witness to Minot High engineering a dual-clinching stretch of wins from the 152- to 182-lbs weight classes, as Noah Bledsoe (152), Kaden Kraft (160), DeJarius Jones (170), and Max Cunningham (182) combined for 18-straight points to give the Magi a 33-19 lead with just three matches to go.
Fighting until the very end, both teams would proceed to leave every ounce of sweat and effort on the mats, with Legacy taking wins in the 195- and 285-lbs weight classes and Kaydn Turnbow capturing six points in the 220-lbs weight class match for the Magi as Minot High sealed a 39-28 win and secured their spot in the state duals tournament.
Speaking about their preparation over the past few days leading up to tonight’s victory, Minot High head coach Justin Racine explained, “We had a 7 a.m. practice on Sunday to watch film and get ourselves ready so that we could control our destiny and secure a spot in the state tournament.”
When asked how good the win felt in the moment, Racine replied, “I would be lying if I said we aren’t enjoying it, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a lot of work left to be done. The goal has always been to bring home a state championship.”
Following Tuesday night’s showdown, the Magi host Williston on Thursday at 7 p.m., while the Sabers travel to Valley City on Friday to take on the host Hi-Liners and Jamestown starting at 5 p.m.