Wrestlers drop duals to Bowman, Beulah
By Neal A. Shipman
The lack of a full line-up was costly to the Watford City varsity wrestling team as the Wolves dropped a pair of regional duals on Friday to Bowman County and Hazen/Beulah.
In the opening dual against Bowman County, the Bulldogs forfeited two weight classes, while Watford City forfeited four in a 39-35 loss.
“We had a chance to win the dual,” stated Mitch Greenwood, Wolves’ head coach. “But in order to do so we had to win the matches that we won by pin. Our wrestlers worked hard and won some good matches, but were not able to pick up the pins when needed.”
The Wolves won five of the eight contested matches including a pin by Connor Dennis.
With less than a full squad taking to the mat in the second dual, the Wolves spotted Hazen/Beulah 12 points due to forfeits. And those points were just enough to give the Bison a 39-35 win.
Greenwood took a gamble by bumping four of his wrestlers up a weight to help fill some of the empty weight classes, but the strategy didn’t work.
“I figured we would need two of those four kids to pull out a win for us to win the dual,” stated Greenwood. “But we only got one. That’s a tough thing to ask these kids to do. They diet all week to make a weight class and then unselfishly bump up and wrestle someone heavier than they are for the sake of the team. I was proud of their efforts.”
Watford City did go on to win seven of the 12 contested matches, including a five-match winning streak that was kicked off at 220 pounds by Jake Belland in the dual’s marquee matchup.
Belland, who is ranked No. 3 in the state at 220 pounds, used three takedowns and an escape to defeat Beulah/Hazen’s Denzel Sanders, 7-0. Sanders, who took third in State at heavyweight last season, was currently ranked second at 220 pounds.
In another big matchup between the top two 152-pounders in Region 4, Kyle Cook won a 5-2 decision over Tyler Erickson.
Jackson Faller, Liam Shannon, Jake Leppell, and Jade Hepper all picked up pins for the Wolves in the dual.
Bowman County 39, Watford City 34
160: Watford City forfeit.
170: Carlton Turnquist decisioned by Nate Boehm, 16-0.
182: Connor Dennis pinned Beau Jeffers, 2:55.
195: Watford City forfeit.
220: Jake Belland won by forfeit.
285: Jackson Faller won by forfeit.
106: Liam Shannon pinned by DJ Martian, 3:48.
113: Braedon Gumke decisioned by Alex Madrigal, 9-1.
120: CJ Thacker pinned Tysen Mattern, 1:36.
126: Dakota Garmann decisioned Cole Schmalz, 9-2.
132: Watford City forfeit.
138: Watford City forfeit.
145: Jade Hepper decisioned Kamrin Madrigal, 9-4.
152: Kyle Cook decisioned Lane Jeffers, 14-5.
Beulah/Hazen 39, Watford City 35
170: Carlton Turnquist pinned by Tyrel Mellmer, 1:30.
182: Connor Dennis decisioned Damian Eslinger, 16-1.
195: Watford City forfeit.
220: Jake Belland decisioned Denzel Sanders, 7-0.
285: Jackson Faller pinned Kyle Larson, 3:30.
106: Liam Shannon pinned Matthew Scheer, 2:44.
113: Jake Leppell pinned Rylan Sago, 4:57.
120: Braedon Gumke decisioned by Jeremy Leintz, 10-5.
126: CJ Thacker pinned by Ethan Lagge, 3:08.
132: Dakota Garmann pinned by Hunter Fritz, 1:39.
138: Jade Hepper pinned Jacob Scheer, 3:21.
145: Hunter Schwartzenberger pinned by Joshua Snyder, 2:59.
152: Kyle Cook decisioned Tyler Erickson, 5-2.
160: Watford City forfeit.
On Saturday, the Wolves took fourth in the nine-team Miner Invitational.
“Although the tournament was not overly large, it featured some great competition including four Class A squads, three from Bismarck and Dickinson,” stated Greenwood.
At 106 pounds, Liam Shannon was unable to compete due to illness and Jake Leppell picked up a first round pin, before losing his next two bouts after dealing with flu-like symptoms.
Braedon Gumke, wrestling at 113 pounds, picked up a first period pin to advance to the semifinals where he was defeated by Bowman County’s Alex Madrigal. Gumke came back strong picking up a major decision in the consolation semifinals, and then avenged a loss from earlier this season by defeating Dickinson’s Brendan Johnson, 3-1, in overtime in the third place match.
CJ Thacker started strong at 120 pounds with two pins to advance to the semifinals, where he was defeated by Bismarck’s Adam DeBoer. Thacker bounced back to pin his next opponent and was then defeated, 5-4, in the third match by Bismarck St. Mary’s Casey Loeks.
Like Gumke and Thacker, Dakota Garmann advanced to the semifinal round thanks to a pin in the quarterfinals. Garmann went on to decision Dickinson’s Matthew Meschke, 15-10, before being pinned in the finals by Bismarck’s Dillon Spaulding, a two-time defending state champion.
At 138 pounds, after picking up a pin and a pair of decisions to advance to the championship match, Jade Hepper won a hard-fought, 3-1, decision over Bismarck High’s Devin Steidler, the No. 5-ranked wrestler in Class A.
At 145 pounds, Hunter Schwartzenberger lost his first round match and then bounced back and picked up a pin in the wrestlebacks. He then lost, 8-6, in sudden death to Bowman County’s Kamrin Madrigal.
Kyle Cook’s two-tournament winning streak came to an end as he lost to Dickinson’s Jarret Lee in the championship match.
Cook picked up a first round pin and then a 9-5 decision over Beulah/Hazen’s Tyler Erickson to move to the title match against Lee, a state runner-up a year ago, and the current No. 1- ranked wrestler in Class A. In the championship match Lee secured a 15-0 technical fall over Cook.
At 170 pounds, freshman Carlton Turnquist found himself in an upper-classman heavy bracket where he was defeated by Bismarck’s Matt Curtis and Alex Schmidt.
Connor Dennis brought a 16-match winning streak into the tournament and ran that streak to 19 in a row by picking up three straight pins to advance to the championship round against Bismarck Legacy’s Matt Kaylor, who is ranked No. 4 in Class A. But a 20-match winning streak would elude Dennis who was decisioned, 12-4, by Kaylor.
Jake Belland used two pins and a win by injury default to become the fifth Watford City wrestler to advance to the championship round. In the title match, Belland would meet up with Bismarck’s Tristan Hall, the Class A heavyweight state runner-up from last year and the No. 2-ranked 220-pounder this year.
Hall led the match, 3-0, after the two periods, before Belland picked up an escape to pull within 3-1, and then with less than 20 seconds to go he countered a takedown attempt of Hall’s to score a takedown of his own to tie the match. Hall reacted quickly and scored a reversal with little time remaining to clinch a 5-3 decision.
Bismarck High, the top-ranked Class A team in North Dakota, ran away with the tournament title by placing 10 wrestlers in the finals and winning six individual championships, while Beulah/Hazen and Dickinson rounded out the top three with Watford City coming in fourth.
This Saturday, Watford City will be back in action as the Wolves host the annual Levi Wisness Classic, which is expected to feature seven to eight teams from Region 3 and 4. Wrestling action begins at 10 a.m. at the high school gymnasium.