Hepper claims crown at Levi Wisness Classic
By Neal A. Shipman
Watford City’s varsity wrestling team closed out its home schedule this week by hosting Stanley in a dual on Friday night, and then hosting the Levi Wisness Classic, a 10-team tournament, on Saturday at the W.C.H.S. Gym.
This Thursday, the Wolves will travel to Hettinger for a regional dual. The Wolves will then compete in the all-Class B, 24-team East/West Tournament, on Friday and Saturday in New Salem. The East/West will be the final tournament of the year for the Wolves prior to the Region IV Tournament which also will be held in New Salem.
Stanley 33, Watford City 30
Against Stanley, the Wolves were unable to fill all of their weight classes, which cost Watford City the match, 33-30.
“In spite of winning five of the six contested matches, we just didn’t have the wrestlers available to fill the other weights,” stated Mitch Greenwood, Wolves’ head coach.
Stanley earned three points at 126, where Jaden Iverson defeated Watford City’s Logan Gumke by a score of 9-4, in what was the closest match of the evening. Stanley collected its other 30 points via forfeits.
Liam Shannon provided the initial spark for the Wolves as he put the first six points on the board when he built an early lead by scoring three takedowns at 106 pounds against Stanley’s Trevor Harstad. Shannon, a seventh grader who weighed in at just 84 pounds and was giving up 23 pounds to his freshman opponent, secured his third takedown in the second period by countering a takedown attempt and putting Harstad on his back.
In spite of all of the forfeits, the dual was not without excitement.
After the 195-pound match, the Blue Jays held a six-point advantage, and could have iced the dual by taking a forfeit with their 220 pounder. But instead, Stanley elected to move him up to heavyweight to get a match. This meant that a pin for Watford City would tie the dual at 33 each.
Wolves’ heavyweight Jake Belland had early visions of doing just that. He quickly tied up with his opponent, Jaryn Rassmussen, and took him backward to his back where he scored three nearfall points. Rassmussen, however, fought off his back and wrestled a conservative second and third period. Belland still came away with a 5-2 victory, which was worth only three team points, so Stanley held on to win, 33-30.
“I was very happy with the individual results,” stated Greenwood. “We wrestled hard. We knew going in that a team win was unlikely just because of all the forfeits. Looking at the matchups, I’ll take five out of six wins any day. I would have considered us underdogs in three of the matches that we won.”
Stanley 33, Watford City 30
106: Liam Shannon pinned Trevor Harstad, 3:35.
113: Dakota Garmann decisioned Gaige Reep, 6-0.
120: Jade Hepper won by forfeit.
126: Logan Gumke decisioned by Jaden Iverson, 9-4.
132: Stanley won by forfeit.
138: Clay Jorgenson pinned Dalton Brown, 1:06.
145: Coleton Jore pinned Justin Smith, 2:45.
152: Stanley won by forfeit.
160: Stanley won by forfeit.
170: Stanley won by forfeit.
182: Stanley won by forfeit.
195: Double forfeit.
220: Double forfeit.
285: Jake Belland decisioned Jaryn Rasmussen, 5-2.
Levi Wisness Classic
The Wolves concluded the weekend of wrestling with their home tournament with 120-pounder Jade Hepper posting a 12-0 shutout over Beulah’s Tyler Erickson in the semifinal round to advance to the championship.
In the finals, Hepper built a 16-2 lead going into the third period against Glendive’s Mason Hutchinson. All Hepper had to do was score one more point to win by technical fall. But Hutchison who started in the top position had other ideas. He locked up a cradle, the same move he used to advance to the finals when he upset Hettinger’s Chauncey Hughes, and took Hepper to his back as well. Hepper managed to fight the cradle off, but Hutchinson locked on a second cradle and secured three more back points. Hepper had to fight off the second cradle, but did manage to get away and score a reversal, which enabled him to hold on for a 18-9 major decision and a Levi Wisness Classic Championship.
Hepper’s title was the only one that the Wolves would get on Saturday. But two other Wolves came away with third place finishes. Logan Gumke and Coleton Jore both advanced to the third place matches and made the best of it.
Gumke posted a 9-5 decision over Beulah’s Tyrel Mellmer, while Jore blanked Hettinger’s Ethan Anderson 5-0 to get his hand raised.
Clay Jorgenson attempted to navigate through a very competitive 138-pound weight class, but hit a couple of bumps in the road. He was beaten in the semifinals by Hettinger’s Trevor Abrahamson for the second time this season. Then in the Consolation semifinals, he dropped a decision to Bowman County’s Tel Lardy. Jorgenson then bounced back and pinned Stanley’s Dalton Brown for fifth place.
Jake Belland matched Jorgenson’s fifth place finish. Belland lost a first round match to Beulah’s Denzel Sanders, but then came back with a pin in the next round to advance to the Consolation semifinals. In that match, Belland wrestled a very competitive match against the top-ranked Region IV heavyweight, Brandon Ehlers. Ehlers defeated Belland, 1-0. Belland finished the day on a high note as he made short work of Bowman County’s Mac Stuber. Stuber and Belland had split two earlier meetings this season, so the win will put Belland ahead of Stuber in the regional standings.
The tournament featured just two JV brackets, but the Wolves had five wrestlers competing in them. At 95 pounds, the Wolves entered four competitors, and three of them ended up placing.
Braedon Gumke advanced to the finals with a pin over Hettinger’s Brayden Klein. Klein had defeated Gumke three separate times in past meetings this season. Gumke finished in second place overall. Liam Shannon also picked up a pin over Klein in the third place match. Jack Heen rounded out the placers in the weight class with a sixth place finish. Carlton Turnquist was the other place winner for the Wolves. He pinned his way to a seventh place finish at 145 pounds.