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While a 13th place finish doesn't always look great on paper, the Valley City High School wrestling team came out of the Bismarck Rotary Tournament last weekend having accomplished plenty.
Not only did the Hi-Liners finish in the top half of a tournament with multiple out-of-state teams and nearly every Class A school, but the team finished with four placers.
Additionally, senior Brandon Larson broke the school's career win record and sophomore Zach Doty broke the 100-win mark for his career on the tournament's opening day.
For Larson, the tournament was little challenge. The 195-pounder finished with three pins, all in the first round, and a 9-5 decision win in the championship against South Dakotan wrestler Jarran Jensen.
Larson's second match of the tournament, a pin over Bismarck's Jose Henriquez, was his 142nd career win, which tied a record set by two-time state champion Ace Anderson in 1998.
"That's just something he was after since he was real young," said Aaron Larson, Brandon's father. "I'm very proud of him. He works hard."
Larson finished the tournament on win 144 and became only the third wrestler in Valley City history to win the Bismarck Rotary Tournament twice, joining Anderson and Phil Riedman.
138 pounder Shane Undem finished 4th in the 138-pound championship. He lost by 7-2 decision to Sturgis wrestler Nick Montieth in his third match of the tournament, but worked his way back to the 3rd place match, where he lost in an 8-3 decision to Minnesotan wrestler Bruce Lemmon.
In the 152 pound bracket, Doty took 6th place despite an injury that kept him from wrestling on the second day of the tournament.
Doty won by pin in his first two matches, the second of which was his 100th career win, and by 12-2 major decision in his third. In the tournament semi-final, Doty lost 18-7.
After the match, Aaron Larson said, the decision was made to have him sit out the rest of the tournament.
"We just decided as a precautionary measure to keep him out the following day," he said.
Despite losing his last two matches by medical forfeit, Doty placed sixth in the tournament.
In the heavyweight bracket, Steven Horner placed 8th.
Horner was pinned in his second match, but secured his placing with a win against Wahpeton's Tyler Ringdahl in the consolation bracket. He lost to Williston's Brandon Sandberg in the seventh place match.
Aaron Larson said there were was pleased with Horner's performance, especially considering that four of the wrestlers who finished above him were from out of state. Larson said Horner's been "progressing nicely" this season.
"It'll pay off for him at the state tournament," Larson said.View more articles in: