Posted 12/08/15 (Tue)
By Neal A. Shipman
The Watford City varsity wrestling team had a busy week as the Wolves competed in a pair of duals against Killdeer and Williston on Tuesday, Dec. 1, before competing in the Velva Tournament on Saturday.
“I thought we wrestled hard and competed very well in the triangular, especially in the second dual against Killdeer,” stated Mitch Greenwood, Wolves’ head coach. “Williston definitely was a more aggressive and more intense team on the mat than we were and we used their demeanor as an example to follow. We responded well and improved our intensity in the second dual.”
The next action for the Wolves will be on Saturday, Dec. 12, when Watford City competes in the Bowman Rotary Tournament.
Williston 39, Watford City 36
In dual action against Williston, the Wolves found themselves trailing the Coyotes, 24-6, after four matches, before Kyle Cook came from behind and got a pin late in the match to put the first six points on the board for Watford City.
The Wolves then made a big comeback as they won five consecutive matches, starting with Connor Dennis at 195 pounds picking up a hard- fought, 9-5 decision, before Jake Belland, Jackson Faller, and Jake Leppell rattled off three straight pins and Liam Shannon added six more points when he picked up a forfeit.
Those wins put the Wolves on top by nine points, but Williston was not ready to go away. Dalton McKenzie picked up a 10-4 decision and Austin Luther earned a pin at 126 pounds to tie the dual with two matches to go.
Watford City senior, Dakota Garmann, wrestling at 132 pounds, was injured in the match and was not able to continue giving the Coyotes six points.
In the final match, Jade Hepper took the mat against Williston’s Roy Isom. The match went back and forth, and in the end Hepper came out ahead with a 10-8 decision, which was good enough for three team points, but the Coyotes clung to a 39-36 dual win.
Williston 39, Watford City 36
106: Jake Leppell pinned William Custer, 3:56.
113: Liam Shannon won by forfeit.
120: CJ Thacker decisioned by Dalton McKenzie, 10-4.
126: Austin Wood pinned by Austin Luther, 1:00.
132: Dakota Garmann lost by injury default to Ryder Day.
138: Jade Hepper decisioned Roy Isom, 10-8.
145: Williston won by forfeit.
152: Hunter Schwartzenberger pinned by Justen Herz, 0:59.
160: Kyle Cook pinned Tyler Norpel, 5:40.
170: Carlton Turnquist pinned by Rowan Horswill, 0:37.
182: Williston won by forfeit.
195: Connor Dennis, decisioned Hayden Owan, 9-5.
220: Jake Belland, pinned Dylan Evans, 2:43.
285: Jackson Faller pinned Colton Gutknecht, 1:45.
Watford City 51, Killdeer 13
The Wolves concluded their triangular action with a huge 51-13 win over the host team, the Killdeer Cowboys.
The match started at 160 pounds, which for the Cowboys meant they got to put their three best wrestlers, all defending state place-winners, on the mat to start the dual.
Dane Larsen kicked things off with a 10-2 decision over Kyle Cook, with Derek Tabor then pinning Carlton Turnquist. Dillan Jepson then edged Watford City’s Connor Dennis in a 9-7 decision to give the Cowboys a 13-0 lead.
But they would not lose another match in the dual and would cruise to a 51-13 win in their Region 4 Dual opener.
Watford City was paced by Jackson Faller, Jake Leppell, Liam Shannon, Jade Hepper and CJ Thacker, who all picked up pins for the Wolves, while Jake Belland and Antonio Garcia picked up wins along with a couple other Wolves’ who received forfeit wins.
Watford City 51, Killdeer 13
106: Jake Leppell pinned Ean Larsen, 1:33.
113: Liam Shannon pinned Jayden Hicks, 0:31.
120: CJ Thacker pinned Dylan Tabor, 5:55.
126: Austin Wood won by forfeit.
132: Antonio Garcia decisioned Zach Andersen, 9-6.
138: - Jade Hepper pinned John Tomjac, 2:33.
145: Double forfeit.
152: Hunter Schwartzenberger won by forfeit.
160: Kyle Cook decisioned by Dane Larsen, 10-2.
170: Carlton Turnquist pinned by Derek Tabor, 1:00.
182: Connor Dennis decisioned by Dillan Jepson, 9-7.
195: Double forfeit,
220: Jake Belland won by forfeit.
285: Jackson Faller pinned Zane Pittsley, 0:46.
On Saturday, Watford City competed in the Velva Invitational, which featured 13 teams including teams from Regions 2, 3, and 4.
“Velva is always a great tournament for us early in the season,” stated Greenwood. “It’s a chance to see a lot of teams and a lot of very good competition.”
In spite of wrestling with a skeleton crew, the Wolves had a very good tournament as Watford City finished fourth out of 13 teams.
“With this tournament so early in the season, we did not put any emphasis on the team score,” stated Greenwood. “Instead we focused solely on individual performances and focused on doing some of the things that we’ve been working on in practice.”
At 106 pounds the Wolves had two competitors, Liam Shannon and Jake Leppell, who unfortunately crossed paths with Liam winning 5-1 to advance to the third place match, while Leppell was eliminated one match short of the placing rounds. Leppell finished 1-2 overall while Shannon was 2-2 on the day and finished in fourth place.
The Wolves also doubled up at 132 pounds with Dakota Garmann and Antonio Garcia competing. Garmann, who was coming off of an injury earlier in the week attempted to wrestle, but was unable to be very effective and withdrew from the tournament for precautionary reasons finishing 0-1. Garcia ended the tournament with a 2-2 record.
Jade Hepper, who competed in a four-man round robin bracket at 138 pounds, picked up two very impressive pins to advance to the finals in a rematch of the championship in the New Town Tournament against Velva’s Jeseb Mogen. The match went back and forth and Hepper scored a two-point take-down, along with two nearfall points to pull ahead 4-3 in the second period. But Mogen responded with a reversal and two nearfall points of his own to pull ahead 7-4. Mogen would successfully ride Hepper the length of the third period to win by that same score, 7-4.
Kyle Cook, competing at 160 pounds, dropped a 12-5 decision to Velva’s Jonathan Thomas in his first round and bounced back with a 7-3 win over Velva’s Brady Irmen. Cook then was decisioned, 13-6, by Bishop Ryan’s Cole Dauphinais, a place winner in last year’s state tournament.
“Kyle is improving every week. He looked very good on his feet and wrestled under control,” stated Greenwood. “He’s going to continue to get better and is going to be tough to beat at the end of this season!”
Watford City got another strong showing from their upper weights on Saturday from Conner Dennis, Jake Belland and Jackson Faller.
Connor Dennis started the day as the No. 1-seeded wrestler in the tournament and after collecting a first round bye, he won two more matches to end the day number one in his weight class as well. It did not come easy though as he battled a very tough Tioga wrestler, Carsen Canfield, to a 10-8 match in the finals. Dennis, who picked up his second tournament win, improved his season record to 6-1.
Unlike Dennis, Jake Belland did not start out as the No. 1-ranked wrestler in his weight class, but like Dennis, he did finish in that position. Belland picked up two convincing first period pins to advance to the championship bout where he took on the No. 1 seed Justin Helseth from Velva. Helseth was a sixth place finisher in the state tournament at 195 pounds last season, while Belland was an eight place finisher at 220 pounds.
Belland controlled the match for all six minutes and dominated Helseth as he cruised to a 6-2 win while improving his season record to 8-0.
Jackson Faller, Watford City’s heavyweight, also had a good showing for the Wolves as he picked up a first round pin before being decisioned, 5-2, in the quarterfinals. He bounced back with another pin in the wrestleback rounds before dropping a 6-1 decision to Stanley’s Garret Hoelscher, one of the top-ranked heavyweights in the state.
Freshmen Hunter Schwartzenberger and Carlton Turnquist wrestled in the 145 and 170-pound junior varsity divisions for the Wolves. Both advanced to the finals via two pins apiece. Schwartzenberger dropped an 11-7 decision in the finals to finish as the runner-up, while Turnquist continued his pinning ways by collecting his third fall of the tournament and winning the 170-pound championship.