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Bemidji's Dale Norton (left) and Corey Huber will begin action today at the state wrestling tournament. It will be the third trip for Huber and the second for Norton, both seeking to place for the first time. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Bemidji HS wrestling: Norton and Huber open competition at state meet today

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Corey Huber and Dale Norton carry the Bemidji High banner to the state wrestling tourney today, beginning action at 6 p.m. in the first round of the Class 3A individual tournament.

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The winners return for the quarterfinals tomorrow at 5 with the first round of wrestlebacks at 7.

The championship semifinals and consolation quarterfinals are Friday at 5 with the consolation semifinals following at 7:45.

The finals are Saturday with the fifth and third place matches at noon and the championships at 3:30.

The team championships will follow at 7.

Apollo will represent the section for the second year in the team event.

Huber and Norton are no strangers to the state meet.

Huber, at 165 pounds, is making his third straight state appearance, falling one match shy in each of the past two tries from placing in the top six.

Norton competed as a sophomore in 2008 but did not wrestle last winter.

He dropped his only two starts in 2008 18-2 and 7-4.

Huber won his opener that year on a first minute fall, then fell 5-0 in the quarterfinals.

He came back with an 11-2 win in his first wrestleback but was pinned in his second, one match short of placing.

Last year he lost his opener 7-5, came back with a 13-0 major decision in the wrestlebacks but lost his next match 5-1 to again fall one round short of placing

This year he is seeking a high finish. He opens tonight against Ron Custer (23-15) of Centennial with the winner to face Tyler Jakes (30-9) of Mankato West or Kevin Bright (35-2) of Lakeville South in the quarterfinals.

That winner will; face a major test Friday with defending 160 pound champ Jordan Kampa (36-1) of SMA and Steve Keogh (42-1) of Apple Valley, the state 2A champ from Thief River Falls last year in the lower bracket as well.

Wrestlers ranked 1-3-5-6-8 are in the upper half led by Owatonna's Jeremy Beruji.

Norton is in a stiffer lower bracket at 135 opening with fifth ranked Tyler Stevens (38-4) of Elk River in his first match.

That winner goes against Hieu Kovar (28-4) or Champlin Park or Colin Hertz (29-18) of Stillwater in the quarte5finals.

State champ Brandon Kingsley (41-1) of Apple Valley would appear the likely semifinal opponent.

"It's a tough bracket," said Coach Rance Bahr. "But to get to the top you have to meet these wrestlers at some point."

Opening round losers whose opponents advance past the second round will come back through the wrestlebacks.

Those whose first round opponents fall in their next match ,are eliminated.

Huber takes a 35-4 mark to the state passing the 150 career win mark at the section. Norton is 32-7.

The two will be the only seniors to graduate this year from the small squad that grew slightly during the year, closing with 24 wrestlers on hand, nine of them 7-9 graders.

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Pioneer staff reports
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