FARGO - Of Minot High's four semifinalists, Dayne Haman finds himself the lone Magician on the cusp of a state championship.
The 195-pound senior came up with his third pin of the tournament on Friday at the Class A tournament at the Fargodome, taking down Jared Bertsch of Grand Forks Red River in three minutes, 51 seconds.
He'll face third-seeded Drew Kary of Bismarck High in today's title round. The Magicians are currently sitting in fifth-place in the team standings with 75 points.
Minot heavyweight Nick Nesdahl, bottom, is caught under Fargo Davies’ Hunter Swensen in a semifinal match on Friday at the Fargodome.
"(Winning state) has always been the ultimate goal," said Haman, the No. 1 seed in his weight class. "I've been at this since I was an eighth-grader. I would love to have that state title."
Haman was the only Minot grappler wearing an ear-to-ear grin following his match, though, as Cody Haugen (145 pounds), Demetreus Roby (220) and Nick Nesdahl fell short of reaching the finals.
Haugen's final title quest at an ever-elusive state title was thwarted by fourth-seeded Shane Undem of Valley City in an 11-7 decision. Haugen - the top-ranked wrestler in his class - also fell in the 2010 and 2012 semifinal rounds.
Roby and Nesdahl, who both made it the championship match a year ago before claiming runner-up medals, will also be shooting for third place today.
Second-seeded Olaf Hanson of Fargo North edged Roby 5-4 and second-seeded Hunter Swensen of Fargo Davies nipped Nesdahl in a taut 5-4 match.
"Definitely not the finish they were looking for," Minot coach Nolan Spooner said. "But they're going to come back with a vengeance tomorrow. They will be looking to get third and get us some points."
If anyone's been giving the Magicians much-needed points, it's Haman.
Haman's three pins have given his club 18 points and he's been doing claiming them at a swift pace. His combined wrestling time in three matches is five minutes, 11 seconds.
"It's kind of like having an extra guy in the tournament," Spooner said of Haman's pins. "To have a guy consistently (pin), the points make up for someone in (the loser's bracket)."
There's a method to Haman's madness, too.
"I've just been staying in good position and working for things that are going to be there," Haman said. "I work my legs all the time and just wear these big guys out."
Jorey Bartsch (120) and Jesse Hoffart (132) are also in contention for third place after winning their loser-our matches. Bartsch beat Joey Good of Devils Lake 11-2 and Hoffart bested Jacob Thiel of Wahpeton 11-3.