Posted 11/27/13 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
Seven of the nine Watford City varsity wrestlers who competed at the New Town “Early Bird” Tournament on Saturday made it to the placing rounds. And with the Wolves placing seventh at the tournament, Mitch Greenwood, Wolves’ head coach, had mixed emotions on Watford City’s first outing of the season.
“We definitely did some very good things at New Town,” stated Greenwood. “The effort was second to none and our conditioning looked to be as good as any team in the event.”
However, Greenwood says his wrestlers need to improve on their mental preparedness.
“In spite of being physically prepared, I felt that we could have done a better job at being mentally ready to compete,” stated Greenwood. “We gave up a lot of takedowns. But many of them were from our guys initiating a takedown and being countered. We’ll go back to work on our technique and clean that up. I was happy with the aggressiveness that we showed.”
The New Town Tournament featured nine Class B teams and two Class A teams, Turtle Mountain and Minot High.
The Wolves were led by two juniors, Clay Jorgenson, 138 pounds, and Coleton Jore, 145 pounds, who each came away with third place finishes.
Jorgenson went 3-1 on the day, including an impressive pin, a dominating major decision, and a very gutsy double-overtime victory.
“Clay was our only wrestler to win a quarterfinal match and reach the semifinals, where he had his only setback of the day to Turtle Mountain’s Grant Laducer,” stated Greenwood.
Jore competed in a round-robin bracket and was one of just two wrestlers on the team to collect two pins on the day.
Logan Fettig, at 220 pounds, also picked up two pins for the Wolves after losing his first round match and advanced to the third place match, as did Jade Hepper at 120 pounds. Hepper, after losing his first match, rebounded with two straight victories.
Both wrestlers were in close matches during the placing rounds until each of them were pinned in the third periods of their respective matches.
Kyle Cook, 152 pounds, Logan Gumke, 132 pounds, and Dakota Neether, 160 pounds, all reached the placing rounds and wrestled in the fifth/sixth place matches in their respective weight classes.
Gumke and Neether both suffered defeats in their placing match to end up sixth overall.
Cook got off to a slow start against Velva’s Reed Hammer, falling behind 11-2 after the first period. Cook opened the second period in the down position and immediately initiated a flurry of action that led to five quick points through a reversal and three near-fall points to cut the deficit to 7-11. Hammer fought off his back, but Cook was able to turn him over a second time and finished the match with a pin that clinched fifth place for him.
Dakota Garmann, 113 pounds, and Jake Belland, 285 pounds, also competed for the Wolves. Garmann was forced to pull out of the event as a precautionary action after a first round, overtime match that resulted in an injury.
Just a sophomore, first-year wrestler Belland was defeated by Isaiah Crowe from Minot High in the first round. Crowe went on to claim championship honors in the weight class. The second match for Belland was much more competitive as he took an 11-6 lead into the final period before succumbing to a pin late in the match.
“First-year wrestlers tend to make mistakes,” stated Greenwood. “Unfortunately at heavyweight, mistakes tend to be more costly. It’s tougher to get out from underneath those big guys and Jake was giving up 40+ pounds to both kids that he wrestled today.”
Overall, the Wolves finished in seventh place in the tournament, scoring 62 points.
Turtle Mountain won the team championship with 185 team points, while Minot High came in second with 144. Stanley was the highest placing Class B team in the event, coming in third with 112 points.
While the varsity competed in New Town, nine of the Junior High wrestlers competed in a tournament in Dickinson. They were paced by runners-up finishes from Liam Shannon, Jantzen Gates, and Jackson Faller.
Watford City’s varsity wrestlers will not be competing this coming week, but will return to the mats the week after Thanksgiving with a dual meet in Killdeer on Dec. 3.