Posted 1/30/13 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
The Watford City Wolves wrestlers had a full slate of wrestling on their schedule this past week as they hosted regional powerhouse Hettinger on Thursday night before heading to New Salem on Friday for the two-day East/West Tournament which featured 22 of the 31 North Dakota Class B wrestling teams in the state.
This week, the Wolves will wrap up their regular season schedule on Friday when they host New Salem in dual action at 7 p.m.
Hettinger 52, Watford City 18
“We knew we were going to have our hands full against the Hettinger/Scranton Nighthawks,” said Mitch Greenwood, Wolves’ head coach on last Thursday’s dual against the perennial powerhouse. “Last year in the Hettinger Dual we got shut out, and they didn’t lose much from last year’s team so we knew we were going to be in for a battle.”
And the Wolves had their hands full this time against the Nighthawks. But this time, there would be no shut-out as Watford City picked up four wins in the dual.
106-pounder Jade Hepper got the first win for the Wolves as he defeated Alec Andress in a 7-3 decision. Hepper and Andress have wrestled twice before and each had won one apiece.
“That was an important win for Jade,” stated Greenwood. “It will make a difference for regional seeding.”
Clay Jorgenson picked up another very tight win for the Wolves as he posted a 2-1 double-overtime victory over Braxon Yates. The other two wins for the Wolves came by back-to-back pins at 160 and 170 pounds by Joe Nelson and Dakota Neether who each earned their wins in the first period.
In spite of losing the other 10 matches, Greenwood was very happy with his team’s performance.
“We’re a young team and we went up against a very experienced team,” stated Greenwood. “A lot of the kids showed heart by wrestling very hard even in losses.”
Kyle Cook and Keegan Thompson each lost by decision to a pair of state place winners from a year ago, while Coleton Jore battled very hard, giving up a major decision to Codi Tomac, a third place state finisher a year ago.
“It shows character to go out there against someone like that and just not give up,” stated Greenwood. “No one on our team quit tonight. That is encouraging as we move toward the post-season. These types of efforts might be the difference between qualifying for State for some of our wrestlers or placing at State for others.”
Individual results from the Hettinger dual are as follows:
285: Kye Bolen pinned by Brandon Ehlers, 0:52.
106: Jade Hepper, decisioned Alec Andress, 7-3.
113: Dakota Garmann pinned by Lucas Ormiston, 3:27.
120: Marty Kueffler pinned by Chauncey Hughes, 0:42.
126: Coleton Jore lost by major decision to Codi Tomac, 15-3.
132: Clay Jorgenson decisioned Braxon Yates, 2-1 in double overtime.
138: Kyle Cook decisioned by Trevor Abrahamson, 17-10.
145: Austin Garmann pinned by Christian Hughes, 1:48.
152: Keegan Thompson decisioned by Rodney Vanhoff, 7-2.
160: Joe Nelson pinned Logan Lachowitz, 1:57.
170: Dakota Neether pinned Paul Abrahamson, 0:22.
182: Hunter Olson pinned by Colby Steeke, 0:54.
195: Logan Fettig pinned by Denby Lueck, 1:55.
220: Tyler Krabbenhoft pinned by Kevin Sandgren, 0:52.
The Wolves carried over their strong efforts to the East/West Tournament in New Salem on Friday and Saturday.
Jade Hepper, Keegan Thompson and Joe Nelson all picked up first round pins for the Wolves, while Coleton Jore and Austin Garmann advanced with wins by decisions. Logan Gumke also advanced to the next round after receiving a first-round bye.
“We stressed getting off to a good start at this tournament,” stated Greenwood. “It’s so difficult to fight back into the placing rounds if you drop your first match, so we really put emphasis on winning that first one and getting some momentum on our side.”
The second round matches unquestionably got a little tougher for the Wolves. Jore found himself on the mat with South Border’s top-seeded Blake Bosch who is ranked nationally. Bosch pinned Jore on his way to capturing his fifth consecutive East-West title. Keegan Thompson also found himself in a second round matchup with the top seed in his weight class in Trenton Jangula from Napoleon. Jangula found a way to come up with the pin with just three seconds remaining in the first period.
Austin Garmann and Joe Nelson each found themselves against third-ranked competitors. Garmann was in a rematch from the night before against Hettinger’s Christian Hughes. It was a good showing as Garmann had three takedowns before making one costly error that led to a pin for Hughes. Nelson also made a costly mistake that resulted in him being on his back under his opponent from South Border, Tucker Meidinger.
Fortunately for the Wolves, the lightweights found a way to come up very big. At 106 pounds Jade Hepper was in familiar territory as he would face off against Beulah/Hazen’s Tyrel Mellmer for the fourth time. Mellmer was 3-0 against Hepper in those matches with three pins. That would not be the case on this evening as Hepper was just dominant on his feet, coming up with four takedowns in the match to win 9-5 and move into the semifinal round.
Logan Gumke refused to let Hepper have the spotlight all to himself as he built a 9-0 lead in the third period before pinning his opponent, Konner Beeter from Minot Ryan.
Going into day two of the tournament, the Wolves had Hepper and Gumke in the semifinals along with Jore, Garmann, Thompson, Nelson, and Dakota Neether, who received a bye in his second round match on Friday, who were all still alive in the tournament and looking to place.
“Just like we stressed before the tournament, the wrestlers who could go out and win their first matches would have a great chance at placing in the tournament,” stated Greenwood.
Five of the six Watford City wrestlers who did win their first matches on Friday would go on to reach the placing rounds.
In the wrestleback rounds, Coleton Jore came up just short against Napoleon’s Dalton Jangula as he dropped a 6-0 decision, but the three others in the wrestleback rounds all won back-to-back matches with three consecutive pins which guaranteed them at least 8th place in the tournament.
In the semifinal round, both Hepper and Gumke would face off against the top-seeded wrestlers in the tournament. Both were defeated by pin in the first period.
In the third round wrestleback round, the Wolves did not have the same type of success as they did the round before. Garmann lost a 4-0 decision, while Thompson dropped a 10-0 match which was a lot closer than the score indicated. He was down just 5-0 when he attempted a move late in the match to tie it, but ended up getting caught in a bad position and gave up five more points. Nelson was defeated by Oakes’ Keaton Peterson in another very competitive match. This meant that all three of these wrestlers would be in the seventh place match later in the day.
Hepper and Gumke each advanced straight to the fourth round of wrestlebacks because they had reached the semifinals which meant their next match would determine whether they got into the third place match or the fifth place match.
Hepper found himself in a rematch with Hettinger’s Alec Andress and just as he did on Thursday night, he was able to come away victorious with an 11-8 decision. Gumke would square off against Stanley’s Brad Ladwig. Ladwig was able to turn Gumke to his back in the second period and secure the pin.
In the placing rounds, the five Wolves with matches all wrestled very hard.
Austin Garmann finished in eighth place after losing to Harvey’s Wyatt Lautt.
Keegan Thompson ended his tournament with an exclamation point by pinning Velva’s Hunter Schreiner in the first period. This was the third match that the two have had, and Schreiner had won both of the previous matches. Joining Thompson with a seventh place finish was Joe Nelson who picked up a second period pin over Minot-Ryan’s Jordan Will.
Logan Gumke kept up with the pinning theme as he won his fifth place match in a rematch of the quarterfinals against Minot Ryan’s Konner Beeter. It was the second time he pinned Beeter in this tournament.
In the third place match, Jade Hepper also met up with an opponent from Minot Ryan in Aaron Sandy. Sandy had pinned Hepper earlier this year in the finals of the Velva Tournament. Hepper fought very hard for the entirety of the match and refused to be pinned again. Despite putting Sandy into some bad positions, Hepper eventually dropped the match by a score of 15-5 and finished in fourth place overall.
As a team, the Wolves finished in 13th place out of 22 teams.