Posted 2/12/13 (Tue)
By Neal A. Shipman
Nine Watford City wrestlers have stamped their tickets to the State Class B Wrestling Tournament this weekend. Those nine earned their way to State by placing in the top four at the Region IV Tournament in Bowman on Saturday.
According to Mitch Greenwood, Wolves’ head coach, Jade Hepper, Logan Gumke and Joe Nelson all took the less dramatic approach to qualifying for State by staying unbeaten in the first two rounds of the tournament to reach the region championship match, while the other 11 Wolves wrestlers took a different direction after losing either a quarterfinal or semifinal match. All 11 reached the consolation semifinal round which meant that if they won, they would go to State. But if they lost, their season would be over.
In the championship round at 106 pounds, Hepper found himself in very familiar territory as he wrestled Beulah/Hazen’s Tyrel Mellmer for the fifth time this season. Hepper was pinned by Mellmer three consecutive times before picking up a win in their last matchup.
In the title match, the two went back and forth before Hepper found himself down by two points in the final minute of the match. Hepper got an escape to close the gap to one point and then took the lead with a takedown. Hepper gave up the match-tying point on a stalling penalty which would force overtime. Hepper picked up his third takedown of the match in sudden death to claim the region championship.
Unlike Hepper, Gumke and his opponent, Talan Nielson from Bowman County, had not wrestled this season. Gumke, wrestling at 113 pounds in the regional title match, gave up a pair of takedowns and got in a hole early, but continued to fight hard the entire match.
Entering the third period, Gumke was down 5-0 when he started his comeback. He scored two points in a nearfall and then continued to go to work trying to turn his opponent for more points. Nielson was penalized twice for stalling making the score 5-4, but time would run out before Gumke could execute another turn or before Nielson could accrue another penalty for stalling.
Joe Nelson, at 160 pounds, was the third finalist for the Wolves. Nelson squared off against Taylor Heins, the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the state in his weight class, and ended up losing the match by pin in the second period.
Overall, the nine state qualifiers and five other place winners were enough to help the Wolves claim third place in the Region IV Tournament.
The Wolves will travel to Fargo for the State Tournament, which will be held at the Fargodome Feb. 14 through 16.
Hepper enters the State Tournament as the No. 7-seed at 106 pounds, while Nelson is ranked No. 6 at 160 pounds.
Also qualifying for State for the Wolves was Austin Garmann at 145 pounds; Coleton Jore, at 126 pounds; Dakota Neether at 170 pounds; Keegan Thompson at 152 pounds; Tyler Krabbenhoft at 220 pounds; and Kye Bolken at 285 pounds.
Austin Garmann received the No. 3-ranking at 145 pounds for the regional which gave him a first round bye into the semifinals against Bowman County’s Troy Steele. The pair had split in action in the year with Steele besting Garmann, which set up the match to qualify for State against Killdeer’s David Arthur. Garmann quickly secured a pin in just 1:12 and earned his berth into the State Tournament and then went on to beat Beulah/Hazen’s Ty Horning 6-4 in the third place match.
At 126 pounds, Coleton Jore picked up a pin in the quarterfinals, but then dropped a tough match to the eventual region champion, Codi Tomac from Hettinger. Jore’s first round pin set him up for a bye in the wrestle-backs securing his place in the third/fourth place match and making him a State qualifier for the second straight season. In the third place bout, Jore lost to Killdeer’s Derek Tabor.
“This was the third time they have wrestled this year, and despite losing, it was the best Jore has wrestled against Tabor all year,” stated Greenwood.
At 170 pounds, Dakota Neether suffered a loss by pin in the opening round and then came back to win his State-qualifying match. Neether than took third place, avenging his first round loss by picking up his second pin of the day.
Keegan Thompson, at 152 pounds, suffered a semifinal defeat to Beulah/Hazen’s Sonny Herczeg and then picked up a quick 30-second pin over New Salem’s Matt Baum to qualify for State. Thompson then pinned his next opponent to take third place.
At 220 pounds and heavyweight, Tyler Krabbenhoft and Kye Bolken found themselves in a great situation. They were both one of just four wrestlers in each of their brackets meaning that they automatically qualified for State. Both of the freshmen lost both matches they wrestled to finish in fourth, but wrestled very well despite the losses and showed that they are improving on a steady basis.
For several Wolves’ wrestlers, the regional tournament did mark the end of the season.
Dakota Garmann, at 120 pounds, wrestled in the first consolation semifinal match for the Wolves. In a rare occurence, Garmann actually had to gain weight to be heavy enough to qualify for his 120-pound weight class. He wrestled very hard, but could not break through to the win column and finished fifth overall in the region.
Clay Jorgenson, at 132 pounds, picked up a quarterfinal win over Bowman County’s Tel Lardy before dropping a semifinal match to Tanner Rohde from Killdeer. In the State-qualifying match, Jorgenson found himself against a familiar opponent in Hettinger’s Braxon Yates. Jorgenson and Yates have wrestled twice before, the most recent being a double overtime, one-point win. And this match again would reach overtime with Jorgenson attempting a takedown which Yates countered. It appeared as if Yates had the takedown, but then Jorgenson was on top momentarily before Yates completed the scramble in the best position and was awarded the takedown and the victory.
Kyle Cook opened the action at 138 pounds with a loss to No. 3- ranked Eric Bucholtz. Bucholtz controlled most of the match and eventually came away with the win. Cook then received a bye in the wrestleback round before meeting up with Hettinger’s Paul Abrahamson in the State-qualifying match. Abrahamson cruised to a 17-2 technical fall for his fourth win over Cook this season.
Hunter Olson, at 182 pounds, just couldn’t keep up with the older, more experienced wrestlers as he lost his first round match to Nolan Dolyniuk, of Bowman, before getting pinned in the consolation semifinals by Hettinger’s Colby Steeke. Olson finished fifth in the tournament.
Logan Fettig came out like a ball of fire at 195 pounds throwing his first round opponent to his back in the opening period. Unfortunately, he was pinned in the third period. In the wrestleback rounds he ran up against the third-seeded Isaac Ripplinger who wrestled very well all day long. Ripplinger picked up the fall in the first period over Fettig who ultimately finished in fifth place.
FIRST ROUND OPPONENTS
106: #7 Jade Hepper (24-13) vs. Trace Bakke, Kindred (16-11)
113: Logan Gumke (22-15) vs. #2 Sawyer Blumhardt, Central Cass (28-5)
126: Coleton Jore (16-19) vs. #3 Grant Johnson, Lisbon (29-18)
145: Austin Garmann (27-20) vs. #7 Billy Holtan, Carrington (28-15)
152: Keegan Thompson (25-12) vs. #6 Trenton Ptacek, Oakes (17-9)
160: #6 Joe Nelson (19-14) vs. Ty Jesz, Kenmare (13-10)
170: Dakota Neether (10-24) vs. #7 Nathan Schmaltz, Velva (11-5)
220: Tyler Krabbenhoft (2-14) vs. #7 Tyler Allers, Minot Ryan (21-9)
285: Kye Bolken (5-24) vs. #4 Tyson Lafferty, Pembina County North (27-7)