Storm shakes rust at rotary

The Breckenridge-Wahpeton Storm grapplers participated in the Bismarck Rotary Tournament Jan 7-8., placing 23rd of 29 teams. Storm Head Coach Ryan Brandt admitted his team was a little rusty, suffering from a 17-day break between matches.

“Our team as a whole, us as coaches, we were kind of down in the dumps the first day. We underperformed what our potential was and where we’d been at coming into the tournament. The rotary is probably the toughest tournament all year,” Brandt said.

Aidan Ruddy (20-6) entered the tourney as the No. 6 seed and finished there, going 4-3. The senior is on quite the tear, but faced adversity to begin the event.

“The first day, Aidan was in survival mode a couple times. He didn’t feel like himself,” Brandt said. “He had to face Nick Anderson of West Fargo, the No. 1 wrestler at 152 pounds. After that one, Aidan really responded well.”

Ruddy showed resolve with an incredible comeback victory. Trailing 7-1 against Ian Johnson of Watertown, Ruddy tied the match at 10-10 and tilted his opponent at the finish for a 13-10 win. Jackson Burchill went 3-3 at 220 pounds, defeating Reign Thompson of Rapid City Stevens by fall in 2:34. Thompson and Burchill both entered the tournament with 19 wins. Hunter Owens dominated his first opponent, who ended up placing in the tourney, while Owens did not — showing the toughness of the overall field.

“Hunter is cutting weight right now, things aren’t going his way the last couple weeks, but he’s putting in hard work,” Brandt said. “These next few weeks will show us where he’s going to be. After this weekend, he said he has a chip on his shoulder the rest of this year.”

In the junior varsity ranks, Henry Slettedahl and Riley Kappes took first in their weight classes and David Erlandson earned third place for Breckenridge-Wahpeton.

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