It’s an opportunity of a lifetime, something only five wrestlers from Bismarck have ever done, a chance to represent the United States on a global level. This weekend, a duo of Demons hopes to add their names to that legacy.
“Well first off, I’ve never been to Vegas, so that’ll be exciting just to see it.”
Just one of the many things Ben DeForest and LJ Araujo will look forward to this weekend as they prepare for the World Team Trials Championships.
“I’m confident,” says DeForest. “I feel good. I feel like I’ve been wrestling pretty good, wrestling against LJ, one of the best guys in the nation so it’s great. My confidence is pretty high.”
The pair have four combined state titles between them and a national runner-up finish, a pedigree that can establish themselves as top wrestlers in the nation.
“I think a lot of teams when they wrestle North Dakota think these guys are terrible,” says Araujo. “We’re just going to run through them. I want to kind of change that and show that we are somebody to compete with. You’re not just going to push us over. We’re going to compete and watch out for them.”
Araujo says he wrestles better with that chip on his shoulder, a sign of the hard work these two have put in to get them to this point.
“Always there are 6 am, always the guys getting the most amount of reps in, winning the sprints and stuff,” says coach Joe Schumacher. “They are a lot of fun to work with, and getting to go out to Las Vegas and compete to make a world team would be super fun.”
The winner of each weight class will have an opportunity to wrestle on the international stage in Rome, a chance that these two know is right in front of them.
“Just be confident,” says DeForest. “Just go out there and wrestle hard, nothing to lose out there, so just go out there and do your best.”