The 2017 Heartland National Duals features 40 of the nation’s best elementary school teams, and 38 of the nation’s best middle school teams who were looking to win a national title. Three young wrestlers from Hettinger qualified for the North Dakota teams. Rob Warbis coached one of the ND teams and provided the following information on how the three wrestlers did.
“Nighthawk and Huskies wrestling had three wrestlers qualify for the Heartland National Duals held in Council Bluff Iowa April 14 and 15. To qualify the wrestlers had to be in the top two in their respective weight class at the USA North Dakota qualifying tournament held in Mandan ND on March 17. North Dakota USA takes 4 teams to the duals, which consist of two elementary teams (sixth grade and below) and 2 Middle School teams (sixth grade through eighth grade). Tristan Pekas qualified for team Elementary Red by taking first in the 140 pound bracket. Peyton Tuhy and Cade Warbis both qualified by taking second in the 95 and 117 pound brackets, both were on Team Middle School Gold. Tristan and Cade have qualified the last three years, Tristan has been on the elementary side and Cade got his first action on the Middle School side. Peyton qualified for the first time.”
“Tristan Pekas had a great weekend and wrestled to a 4-3 overall record for team North Dakota Red. He was 3-1 in Pool wrestling on day one wrestling kids from Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. The team was 2-2 on the day and found themselves in the Platinum Division on Saturday (which are teams 9 thru 16 from Pool Play). Tristan wrestled some tough competition from Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota on the second day and ended the day with a 1-2 record. The team ended the day with an overall record on the day at 1-2 to finish 12th out of 29 teams.”
“This being Peyton’s first time at the duals, his eyes were a little wide as he walked into weigh-ins and to the mats the first day. Peyton wrestled very well against some very good competition and ended day 1 with a 1-4 record (Illinois had to forfeit to Peyton). Teams that Peyton wrestled against on the first day were from Missouri, Indiana, Texas, Kansas, and Illinois. Illinois and Missouri teams wrestled in the Diamond Bracket on the second, which are the top eight teams at the duals. The other three were in the Platinum Division, which are the nine through 16 place teams. So you can see that he got to wrestle some of the better kids in the tournament. The second day ended with Peyton having a 0-3 record but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. I was fortunate enough to get to coach Peyton’s team and can’t say enough about his effort and willingness to step onto the mat. It is easy for kids to get discouraged and not want to step on the mat after you have lost a couple times. For the few times that I have been going to these duals it is not uncommon for kids to not get a win on their first trip to the Duals. I know that there are state champions from North Dakota that when they were younger and qualified went winless their first trip to Heartland Duals.”
“Cade wrestled well also on the first day but ended with a 0-5 record. Like Peyton, he wrestled kids from Missouri, Indiana, Texas, Kansas and Illinois. Again, these ended up being five of the top 16 teams in attendance. Cade set the bar high for himself this year and after day one he had to do some reflecting and get back to wrestling like he is capable. After a little time of reflecting about day one, Cade came back the second day and wrestled to a 3-0 record. He beat kids from South Dakota and two different Kansas teams to end the weekend with an overall record of 3-5.”
“All three boys had a great time wrestling for not only Team North Dakota but also representing Nighthawks wrestling on the Big Stage. I believe all three will be looking at qualifying for the Heartland Duals again next year but also bringing some of their fellow Nighthawk wrestlers with them. The future is bright for Nighthawk Wrestling.”