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Mustangs start fast

Nash Bettenhausen of South Border pins Velva’s Brady Irmen in 1:31 at 152 pounds during the first round of the Class B state dual tournament in Bismarck. South Border advanced to the semifinals with a 60-21 win. (Kevin Cederstrom / Forum News Service)

BISMARCK — South Border had a bumpy start, but responded with a flurry of first-period pins.

Once the three-time defending state team duals champion Mustangs got on a roll, there was little Velva could do to stop them.

South Border, the No. 1-seed from Region 1, finished with eight first-period pins en route to a 60-21 dual win over the Aggies during the Class B state wrestling tournament on Thursday at the Bismarck Civic Center. The Mustangs dropped their first two matches of the dual.

“Those first couple of matches we have our little seventh-graders that are coming up,” South Border co-head coach Dwight Schilling said. “They are a little young and inexperienced, but then we start getting into our juniors and seniors. We have a pretty decent lineup from there on.”

The Mustangs received the jumpstart from junior Andy Nolz at 132 pounds. The No. 1-seeded wrestler at 126 pounds sparked the pins flurry after defeating Velva’s Josh Horner in 1 minute, 50 seconds.

From there, South Border built a 30-12 lead and never let up. The Mustangs recorded five straight pins from 132 to 160 pounds. The Mustangs’ Tyler Kuntz and Richard Rico picked up back-to-back forfeit wins at 220 and 285 pounds, respectively.

“We knew after (the first couple matches) were pretty set,” Nolz said. “We have some good people up there.

“Once we get a pin, we just start rolling and it keeps going. We just finished out the dual strong.”

South Border junior Brayden Kuntz, who collected a pin over Velva’s Robert Wible at 160 pounds and is the No. 2-seed at the weight class individually, said the team has the aspirations of winning another state title. However, he knows it isn’t going to be easy.

“We definitely have the team that can go all the way, but there are a lot of good teams here too,” Brayden Kuntz said. “We have Pembina County next and they are going to tough. We have to be at the top of our game every single dual.”

Schilling echoed the Mustangs have to be ready — no matter what team they face. South Border wrestles Pembina County North at 1 p.m. today.

“We are going to be relying heavily on our juniors and seniors,” he said. “They are going to be our backbone.

“You just have to take the opponents as they come. We have Pembina County and it’s going to be a real close dual.”

South Border isn’t the only Region 1 team making an appearance in the Class B team duals semifinals.

Lisbon, the No. 2-seed from Region 1, knocked off Minot Ryan, the No. 1-seed from Region 3, 41-26.

Broncos head coach Joe Kern said on paper the dual could come down to the final match. He was extremely close. It came down to the second-to-last match.

After Lisbon and the Lions battle back and forth, freshman Ethan Elijah sealed the victory with a pin against Max Lipp in 23 seconds at 106 pounds. As for the icing on the cake, Lisbon sophomore Brock Aberle pinned Wyatt Ledoux at 113 pounds.

“It was an unbelievable effort,” Kern said. “We knew this dual was going to come down to the wire.”

Lisbon meets Carrington, the No. 1 seed from Region 2, in the semifinals at 1 p.m. today. The Cardinals defeated the Watford City in convincing fashion 76-6.