If you're listing the best wrestlers in West Fargo High School history, Cade Pederson believes one name should be omitted.
"I'm definitely no Jordan Shearer or Jesse Shearer or Jared Franek or Brandon Metz, that's for sure," he said. "We've had some studs come through West Fargo."
But even if he falls short in his own mind, as of Saturday, Pederson does have one thing in common with all the best wrestles in school history. Multiple state championships.
Two years after capturing a state title at the 160-pound weight class, Pederson closed a dominant senior season with another at 182, following a 3-1 decision over Minot's Jacob Carmichael in the finals of the Class A State Tournament at the Fargodome.
In the two days leading up to the championship bout, Pederson barely had to break a sweat. Wrestling six matches spread over the individual and dual tournaments, he earned four pinfalls, a 10-3 decision and a 15-4 major decision.
Carmichael presented a different challenge.
With a conservative, "funky" style, the Minot junior kept opponents on their toes all weekend, forcing them to wrestle at a slow, meticulous pace. He also seemed to have luck on his side early in the title bout.
Unable to mount much of an attack early, Pederson finally got Carmichael to the mat late in the second period, only to land just inches out of bounds, ensuring he'd enter the final two minutes trailing 1-0.
"I was nervous, honestly," Pederson said of being behind in the final period. "He's kind of a different wrestler. He's super conservative and doesn't shoot a ton. So you just have to go in with a game plan of knowing you're not going to get as many shots off as you want."
Luckily, such an opportunity did arise in the final minute, and Pederson took advantage.
After tying the match with an early escape, Pederson finally got in good position, lifting Carmichael in the air and taking him down before holding him to the mat for the remainder of the match, arising some 40 seconds later as a two-time state champion.
As of Saturday, Pederson hasn't firmly committed to any future plans. He's says he is considering pursuing athletics at the next level, but may also pursue a career in the military.
But regardless if he competes at such a high level again, Pederson was happy with the way he completed his high school career, finding redemption after a disappointing third-place finish at 182 a season ago.
"It feels good," he said. "Long time coming from last year."
And even if he won't put himself among the best Packer wrestlers of all time, there is at least one person who believes he's in the conversation.
"He's up there," Packer coach Ben Berogan said. "He might not have as many state championships as others, but he's been there since he was an eighth grader. He's placed every year since he was in eighth grade. He's consistent and has some consistently good wins. I'm proud of how he did."
The Packers finished sixth with a 1-2 record at the dual tournament. They opened with a 31-25 loss to Minot, topped Grand Forks Central 45-22 in the consolation semis, then fell 36-31 to Fargo Davies in the fifth-place match.