Hepper, Gumke, Belland claim titles at Bowman Rotary Tournament
By Neal A. Shipman
Jade Hepper, Braeden Gumke and Jake Belland claimed individual championships for Watford City during the Bowman Rotary Wrestling Tournament on Saturday.
Of the 10 wrestlers that Watford City entered into the tournament, nine placed in the top six, including four who advanced to the championship round.
“I was hoping that we could have been represented in a few more weight classes,” stated Mitch Greenwood, Wolves’ head coach. “But a handful of the wrestlers were battling strep throat this week and stayed home to get healthy.”
Jade Hepper entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed at 138 pounds and proved he was deserving of that ranking. After receiving a first round bye, Hepper dispatched Dickinson’s Tate Nordby by an 11-1 major decision to advance to the finals. In the championship bout, Hepper scored early and often building a 15-1 lead before securing a third period pin over Baker’s Spenser Losing to claim his third career championship title at the tournament.
In spite of some unhealthy wrestlers, Braedon Gumke made his debut for the team after coming back from a knee injury that kept him out of all athletics for over a year.
Gumke, wrestling at 113 pounds, took first in the tournament as he picked up a second period win over the No. 2-seeded wrestler in the tournament in the semifinal, and then made short work of top-seeded Tyson Mattern of Bowman County with a first period pin in the championship bout.
Jake Belland, Watford City’s 220-pounder, improved his season record to 10-0 by pinning his way through the tournament in just 4:01 of total mat time.
At 120 pounds, CJ Thacker dropped a very close, 7-5, decision to Hettinger’s Carlos Martinez in the semifinals before picking up two straight pins of his own to come back through the consolation bracket and claim third place overall.
The Wolves were represented by two wrestlers at 132 pounds. Antonio Garcia and Dakota Garmann both competed and both finished with 2-2 overall records. Garcia finished up in fourth place while Garmann placed fifth in the division.
Hunter Schwartzenberger, who normally wrestles at 145 pounds had to compete at 152 pounds because of a lack of competitors, finished in sixth place.
Kyle Cook, 160 pounds, finished up 1-2 overall and placed fifth in the tournament.
Carlton Turnquist, 170 pounds, dropped his first match by pin to the top-seeded wrestler in the bracket and then lost a hard-fought decision in the consolation brackets to finish 0-2.
Connor Dennis picked up two pins over regional opponents from Hettinger and New Town before meeting up with Standing Rock’s Kobe Murphy in the championship bout. Murphy, who is ranked No. 3 in the state, cruised to a 17-2 technical fall over Dennis.
The Wolves will travel to Dickinson on Friday and Saturday for the two-day Dickinson Classic Tournament before heading into their Christmas break.
North Dakota Class “B”
Region 4 Wrestling Rankings
106: Liam Shannon, 4.
113: Jake Leppell, 4.
120: CJ Thacker, 2.
132: Dakota Garmann, 3.
138: Jade Hepper, 1.
160: Kyle Cook, 4.
170: Carlton Turnquist, 4.
182: Connor Dennis, 3.
220: Jake Belland, 2.
285: Jackson Faller, 4.
Class “B” Wrestling
120: CJ Thacker, 8.
138: Jade Hepper, 4.
182: Connor Dennis, 8.
220: Jake Belland, 2.