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When it comes to wrestling contenders, start with BHS

When it comes to wrestling contenders, start with BHS

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BHS

 With eight wrestlers from last year's state tournament team forming the nucleus, Bismarck High School will likely be labeled the Class A team to beat again this season.

BHS captured its 36th state tournament title last winter and finished second to Dickinson in a close dual championship match.

While he isn't about to start crowing about his team's firepower, BHS co-coach Mark Lardy concedes the Demons are starting out in a good place.

"I don't want to say we're in the driver's seat, but sometimes it's nice to be chased and not be the chaser," said Lardy, who shares BHS head coaching duties with Jeff Schumacher.

The Tanefeu twins, Christian and Wilfried, and Brandt Kringlie return as state champions. They're joined by four teammates -- Kaden Renner, Brock Fettig, Preston Fettig and Ben Nagel -- who placed last season.

In addition to that solid foundation, Isaiah Huus has entered the Demon wrestling room. Although he's a sophomore, Huus brings impressive credentials from New Salem-Almont. He placed third in the state Class B tournament at 182 pounds last winter, and last summer finished among the top eight at the Cadet National Freestyle and Greco-Roman tournaments.

Lardy says there will no doubt be other contending teams that surface, and they have one thing in common.

"There will be a number of teams in the mix, and the crazy thing is they're all in the West," he noted. "If I remember right from the returning (state tournament) points, Century, Dickinson and Minot are all up there, as well."

"Dickinson picked up (Malikai) Rivera from Century ... and that makes their lineup a little stronger than we had anticipated," Lardy added.

Rivera, a junior, placed seventh in the state at 195 pounds last season.

Lardy said all of the athletes the coaching staff were counting on have returned to the BHS wrestling room.

"We're a little light in the upper weights yet, but I think by the end of the year we'll have the guys who can do some things for us," he observed. "Isaiah Huus coming in at 182 certainly added some strength to the top of our lineup."

Bismarck opens its season tonight, playing host to St. Mary's for a 7 p.m. dual. Then the Demons are idle until the venerable Mandan Lions tournament on Dec. 6-7.

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