Burwick places fifth in the nation

In his first opportunity in the national spotlight, Hettinger’s Kyle Burwick wrestled his way to the podium at the ASICS USAW Cadet Junior National Tournament in Fargo. Burwick placed fifth overall nationally in the 113 weight class.

Kyle Burwick (third from left), stands at the podium after finishing fifth overall nationally in the 113 pound weight class at the ASICS USAW Junior Cadet National Tournament. (Courtesy Photo)
Kyle Burwick (third from left), stands at the podium after finishing fifth overall nationally in the 113 pound weight class at the ASICS USAW Junior Cadet National Tournament.
(Courtesy Photo)

By COLE BENZ
Record Editor

In his first opportunity in the national spotlight, Hettinger’s Kyle Burwick wrestled his way to the podium at the ASICS USAW Cadet Junior National Tournament in Fargo. Burwick placed fifth overall nationally in the 113 weight class.

“It’s the largest wrestling tournament in the country,” Kyle’s father, and high school coach Randy Burwick said.

Held each year in Fargo, the national tournament featured nearly 5,300 wrestlers from 48 states competing in over 16,000 matches during the week-long event.

“You take the whole Fargodome,” Burwick said. “And put mats on the whole Fargodome.”

Beginning on July 17, the tournament opens up with three days of Greco/Roman Style before the freestyle starts on July 20. The event culminates with the juniors (older wrestlers) on July 22.

Team North Dakota brought 41 wrestlers from all around the state to the tournament. Tournament rules allow up to four wrestlers per team, per weight class. A challenge match among teammates is required if there are more than four in a given weight class. North Dakota only had three in the 113 weight class, so no challenge was required. Nationally, there were 91 other wrestlers Kyle Burwick had to compete against.

He performed well, going 6-2 overall.

“[He] wrestled a fantastic tournament,” Randy Burwick said. “It was pretty impressive.”

Kyle took down the No. 18 ranked wrestler in the country, and lost two close matches to a couple of other nationally ranked athletes, including the No. 2 ranked wrestler in New York native Adam Busello.

Kyle’s other loss was to a familiar foe. Malek Hines, a state champion from Florida, previously lost to Kyle at the Junior Duals in Tulsa, Okla.

“[Kyle] knew it was going to be a good match,” Burwick said.

Kyle fell to his two opponents by close margins, 8-6 to Busello, and 6-5 to Hines.

By accumulating the six victories, Burwick earned a spot on the podium and was named an All-American. Wrestlers need to place eighth or higher to be named an All-American.

This was Kyle’s first shot at the national tournament. He was age-eligible last year but an injury kept him out of competition.

It was good experience for Kyle, according to Randy, because they get to see other styles of wrestling from the different regions of the country.

“That’s why you have to wrestle those eastern wrestling [teams],” Burwick said.

Another benefit of the tournament? Scouts.

“It’s a who’s who of college wrestling,” Burwick said of the scouts that attend the tournament. He also said that if you medal, you’ll get some attention.

Overall, team North Dakota had four All-Americans. Ryan Ripplinger and Matt Kaler from Bismarck placed in the Greco/Roman style tournament. While Kyle and Jared Franek of West Fargo were named All-Americans in the Freestyle tournament. Franek was the Cadet National Champion in the 145 weight class.

Ben Peterson, a former Olympic medalist, made an appearance at the tournament and took time to share his experiences with the wrestlers and coaches.

“He takes time to visit with the young kids, and he’s still really involved with USA Wrestling,” Buwick said.

Peterson, a Wisconsin native, won a gold medal at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. He also won a silver medal four years later in Montreal and was a two-time NCAA champion with Iowa State. His brother, John, was also a two-time Olympic medalist in wrestling. Randy Burwick grew up watching those two early in his own wrestling career.