BISMARCK, N.D. - The Bismarck Demons are on their way to the Fargodome for this year's state wrestling tournament.
Ryan Ripplinger is one of the team's captains and when it's all said and done, he'll go down as one of the best wrestler in the programs outstanding history.
Ripplinger is going for his fourth and final state championship. His success derives from his work ethic and determination.
"I come into this room and when I get into this room it's business time. When I put my wrestling shoes on and I go hard every day, I want to jump leaps and bounds in this sport and in order to do that you got to train hard, you got to put your time in, and I mean, I feel like I do that," said Ripplinger.
In the storied history of Bismarck High wrestling, records are hard to come by. Ripplinger has the most career pins as a Demon. Coach Mark Lardy believes that is Ryan's most telling statistic.
"It's extremely dominant for a kid to come out and pin his opponent. It's the pinnacle of our sport, that's the whole focus of the sport is to try and pin them and it doesn't happen that often. Except for Ryan, Ryan is definitely one of these kids that you can say we need a pin in this dual and it's nine times out of 10 it's going to happen. If you maybe up by five points but that's not a safe lead if you're going against Ryan Ripplinger," said Lardy.
Ripplinger's high school career will be over after this week, but it's not the last time he'll wrestle in Fargo. Ripplinger will compete for North Dakota State. Bison Head coach Roger Kish wasted no time expressing his interest.
"He was on me day one junior year, Sep. 1, told me that I'm the future of their program and he told me that I need to believe that and just go in there and wrestle hard and big things will happen. It was awesome finally fulfilling the goal being a Division I wrestler. You know, it's been a goal since I started wrestling and it's awesome to hear from a Division I coach that you can compete here and he thinks you can compete here," said Ripplinger.
His decision to stay instate and wrestle in college means it'll be just a short trip for the people that have been there from the beginning.
"You know, it's close to home. I'm only 200-some miles away from this room, so I wanted to stay close, I wanted to be by my support system. NDSU has a great program, they're continually growing and it's just a perfect fit for me so I'm excited for it," said Ripplinger.
Ripplinger and the Demons are the Class-A defending champions in both the team points and duals.