Posted 12/16/14 (Tue)
By Neal A. Shipman
The Watford City High School wrestling teams had a busy weekend as the junior varsity competed in a triangular at Grenora, while the varsity team competed at the Bowman Rotary Tournament.
In the junior varsity triangular, the Wolves went 2-0 against the MonDak Thunder, which is made up of Grenora and Westby, and Williams County, which is made up of Tioga and Ray.
The junior varsity defeated Williams County, 42-6, and MonDak, 36-24. Freshmen Connor Dennis and Jackson Faller led the way for the Wolves in the event by picking up two pins each.
Bowman Rotary Tournament
Watford City advanced six wrestlers to the championship round of the Bowman Rotary Tournament on Saturday, as the Wolves took second place with Dakota Garmann, Jade Hepper, and Clay Jorgenson emerging as Champions for the Wolves.
“We wrestled very well in Bowman,” states Mitch Greenwood, Wolves’ head coach. “We won all of the matches we were supposed to win, and maybe a couple that we weren’t expected to.”
The Wolves led by as many as 14 points at the conclusion of the 126-pound weight class in the final round of the tournament. But Hettinger stormed back in the middle and upper weight classes to outscore the Wolves, 22½-3, and in the final 10 weight classes of the championship round to edge Watford City, 122½ to 117½, for the tournament championship.
“We had our chances to win the event,” states Greenwood. “We had a seven-point lead going into the final round. I met with the team prior to that round and told them I thought it would take three champions in the final round to hold the lead, and that was what we got. But hats off to Hettinger. They wrestled well, and I guess we needed a fourth champion that we couldn’t quite get.”
Leading the charge for the Wolves was Dakota Garmann, Jade Hepper, Logan Gumke, Coleton Jore, Clay Jorgenson, and Jake Belland, who all advanced to the championship round.
Dakota Garmann captured the 120-pound championship, which is his first ever varsity tournament championship. Garmann is the top-ranked 120-pounder in the region and defeated the number two and three-ranked wrestlers en route to his title.
Jade Hepper did about the same thing at 126 pounds. Hepper had to wrestle from behind and battle back to win in overtime to reach the championship match. He then defeated Standing Rock’s Tyler Keener who is ranked number four in the state in the championship round. The title was Hepper’s third championship in three tries as he improved to 13-0 on the season.
Clay Jorgenson picked up the third championship for the Wolves at 152 pounds. Jorgenson, who is ranked number two in the region, defeated Bowman’s Tel Lardy, who is ranked number three in the region, in the semi-finals. Jorgenson went on to avenge a loss from earlier in the season to Killdeer’s David Arthur, who is the top ranked 152-pounder in Region IV.
“It was great to see Clay beat a kid that he lost to earlier this year,” stated Greenwood. “It shows that our hard work is paying off and we’re getting better all the time.”
At 145 pounds, Coleton Jore found himself in the finals against an opponent he had previously lost to as well in Killdeer’s Tanner Rohde. Rohde pinned Jore in the first period of a dual two weeks ago. But in the finals in Bowman, Jore wrestled a much better match. Rohde ultimately was victorious, but the match went the full six minutes, and was much more competitive than the previous one between the two.
“Coleton did some great things,” stated Greenwood.” I think his conditioning came into play. He got in a hole early in the match, but competed very hard throughout the final two periods.”
Logan Gumke and Jake Belland were the other two runner-up finishers for the Wolves.
Gumke defeated the two highest ranking wrestlers in the region, Hettinger’s Alec Andress and Bowman County’s Tyler Longland, to advance to the finals. In the finals, Gumke dropped a 7-4 decision to Keegan Kary from Baker, Mont. It was Kary’s second consecutive Bowman Rotary championship title.
Jake Belland received a first round bye and then made short work of his opponent in the semifinal round to advance to the championship against Hettinger’s Colbey Steeke. The two battled to a scoreless tie after one period. But in the second period, Steeke proved to be a very tough competitor on the mat and jumped out to a lead. In the third period, he was able to pin Belland to earn the championship at 220 pounds.
The Wolves also got solid performances from eighth graders Liam Shannon and CJ Thacker at 106 and 113 pounds, respectively.
Shannon picked up a pin in his third place match.
Thacker dropped his opening match to Cale Shalesky from Hettinger. He then reeled off consecutive wins to claim a third place finish of his own.
At 170 pounds, Austin Huseby looked sharp earning fourth place honors, while Justin Schwartzenberger rounded out the varsity team with a fifth place finish.
“The team chemistry is phenomenal right now,” states Greenwood. “They’re having fun together in practice and at competitions. They push each other so hard, celebrating big wins together and picking each other up after the losses. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of.”
In the junior varsity division, the Wolves were paced with a second place finish by Jayden Ybarra, while Cameron Taylor and Jake Leppell placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
This week, the varsity will travel to Dickinson for a two-day tournament, which will feature three to four duals on Friday, followed by an individual tournament on Saturday. The junior high will travel to Minot for the Junior High State Tournament, which combines Class A and B schools from all over North Dakota.