The Firebirds have 10 grapplers competing at the Fargodome in the state tournament beginning today.
Midway through the season, Devils Lake head wrestling coach Todd Lambrecht noted that one of the team's goals during the 2016-2017 campaign was to qualify as many athletes as possible for the State Class A Tournament in Fargo.
"It would be great to get more guys qualified than we have had in a long time," the fourth-year head coach commented. "The state tournament is a great experience and you always like to have as many wrestlers in that type of environment as possible."
The Firebirds have 10 grapplers competing at the Fargodome in the state tournament beginning Thursday (today). It's the highest number in years as the team has averaged around five qualifiers the past several seasons.
Everett Gunther, 16-13, is competing for the Firebirds at 120 pounds. The eighth grader placed sixth at regionals to earn a spot at state. Gunther drew a tough match right off the bat as he takes on the top-seed from Bismarck, Ryan Ripplinger, 38-3, in the first round.
Chandler Gunther, who placed third at the EDC, will compete at 126 pounds. A sophomore, Gunther, 18-15, will take on Izaiah Bitz. The junior from Bismarck Century is seeded fourth and has a record of 38-17.
At 132 pounds, James Fisk, 21-16, will represent the Firebirds. The sophomore, who placed third at regionals, takes on third-seeded Clint Coleman. The Bismarck junior is 30-24.
Parker Vilandre, a state-placer from last season, will wrestle for Devils Lake at 145 pounds. The freshman, with a record of 23-17, is set to take on Valley City's Jonathon Langer. The junior, with a record of 25-13, is seeded sixth.
There are two participants at 152 pounds for Devils Lake. Cody Bjornson, 17-18, placed seventh at regionals. The junior takes on Wahpeton's Casey Frankhauser, 20-8, in the first round. A senior, Franhauser is the seventh seed.
Also competing at 152 pounds, Colby Rance, 17-18, meets up with fifth seeded Thomas Irwin of Dickinson. Rance placed sixth at the EDC Tournament.
At 160 pounds, Luke Knowski, 9-13, is competing for Devils Lake. The sophomore, who took seventh at regionals, is wrestling Minot's Creighton Rudolph. The junior is 24-7 and the third seed.
Jace Estenson is seeded seventh at 170 pounds for Devils Lake. The senior, who placed third at regionals, brings in a 24-14 record. Estenson wrestles Bismarck St. Mary's Ben Yantes who has a 6-13 record.
At 182 pounds, Robert Serumgard brings a 17-17 record to the table for Devils Lake. Serumgard, who placed eighth in the EDC, takes on West Fargo's Jesse Shearer. The senior is the top seed and has a 44-2 record.
George DeMarce is seeded sixth at 195 pounds for the Firebirds. The junior, who has a record of 21-14, takes on Turtle Mountain's Louis DeCouteau. The sophomore has a record of 8-11.
Lambrecht, who was named EDC Coach of the Year, noted that the Firebirds have worked hard this season.
“These guys come ready to work every single day. They leave it all on the mat,” the coach said. “Our wrestlers have such a positive attitude. They make it fun to come to practice every day. It’s awesome to be around.”