Wrestlers take ninth at East-West Tourney
By Neal A. Shipman
Watford City’s wrestlers got off to a rough start as the Wolves fell to Hettinger-Scranton, 49-18, in a Region IV dual match on Thursday.
The Black Devils, a top five-ranked team in North Dakota, came away with eight wins and two forfeits, while the Wolves came away with just four wins.
Liam Shannon lost a 3-1 decision to Mason Defoe, the fifth-ranked 106-pounder in the state and Jake Belland, the No. 2-ranked wrestler in the state, dropped a 5-0 decision to Colbey Steeke, the top-ranked 220-pounder in the state.
The bright spots for the Wolves came at 126 where Dakota Garmann picked up a 9-5 decision over Braden Kline. Jade Hepper and Connor Dennis picked up pins for the Wolves at 138 and 182 pounds, respectively, while Kyle Cook came away with a hard fought 6-4 decision over Logan Lachowitzer.
Hettinger-Scranton 49, Watford City 18
106: Liam Shannon decisioned by Mason Defoe, 3-1.
113: Jake Leppell pinned by Kyle Burwick, 2:31.
120: Braedon Gumke decisioned by Carlos Martinez, 8-1.
126: Dakota Garmann decisioned Braden Kline, 9-5.
132: Antonio Garcia pinned by Cale Schalesky, 1:51.
138: Jade Hepper pinned Ben Dalley, 2:57.
145: Hunter Schwartzenberger decisioned by Alec Andress, 18-3.
152: Kyle Cook decisioned Logan Lachowitzer, 6-4.
160: Watford City forfeit.
170: Carlton Turnquist decisioned by Issac Anderson, 16-0.
182: Connor Dennis pinned Andrew Sulzman, 3:11.
195: Watford City forfeit.
220: Jake Belland decisioned by Colbey Steeke, 5-0.
285: Jackson Faller pinned by Jacob Schalesky, 4:42.
Watford City closed out its weekend wrestling action at New Salem’s East/West Tournament, the state’s largest Class B tournament. The tournament featured 24 of the state’s 32 Class B teams, including every team from Region 3 and 4, five teams from Region 1 and three from Region 2, as well as eight of the state’s top 10 teams.
The Wolves finished the tournament in ninth place with Jade Hepper and Jake Belland leading Watford City with second place finishes at 138 and 220 pounds, respectively.
“I was pleased with some of our performances, but felt we left some matches out there that we could have won,” stated Mitch Greenwood, Wolves’ head coach. “I think a few of our kids learned a valuable lesson to never overlook someone and that they need to be ready each and every time they step on a mat.”
Liam Shannon, wrestling at 106 pounds, picked up a pin in the first round before being decisioned by Hettinger’s Mason Defoe, 3-1. Shannon bounced back picking up a pin to advance to the placing rounds. In consolation action, Shannon was pinned and then picked up an 11-2 major decision to take seventh place.
Braedon Gumke had an excellent tournament at 113 pounds as he picked up a first round pin to advance to the quarterfinals where he decisioned Lisbon’s Jordan Sours, 3-1. Gumke was then pinned in the semifinals by defending state champ, Kyle Burwick and was decisioned 5-4 in consolation semifinals. Gumke took fifth place with a pin over his Napoleon opponent.
CJ Thacker had a tough bracket to navigate at 120 pounds as he lost his first match, 12-10, before picking up two wins. He was then defeated by South Border’s Mark Jochim.
Dakota Garmann, wrestling at 126 pounds, lost his first match to Beulah’s Ethan Lagge and was then pinned by Lisbon’s Tristan Howard in the wrestlebacks.
At 132 pounds, Antonio Garcia also had a rough tournament as he was pinned in the first round and then lost a 4-2 decision to be eliminated.
The 138-pound weight class was a bright spot for the Wolves as Jade Hepper scored 28 points in his first two matches. In the finals, Hepper was decisioned 18-2 by Lisbon’s Ethan Elijah, the state’s No. 1-ranked wrestler.
Hunter Schwartzenberger went 0-2 at 145 pounds as he lost a 12-3 major decision in the opening round and was then pinned in the second round.
At 152 pounds, Kyle Cook lost his first match to Velva’s Brady Irmen before winning his next match, 9-2. He then lost to Hillsboro’s Mark Hastings, 8-7.
Carlton Turnquist was pinned by Derek Tabor of Killdeer and lost by technical fall in the second round to be eliminated in the 170-pound weight class.
At 182 the Wolves received a solid effort from Connor Dennis, who won his first two matches by a pin and a forfeit to advance to the semifinals. Dennis then lost to defending state champion Riley Lura from Carrington, 15-1, before getting pinned in the consolation semifinals by New Salem’s Shane Forester. Dennis bounced back with a quick pin in the fifth place match.
Jake Belland, who was fighting flu symptoms, picked up a first round pin before winning a shaky quarterfinal matchup, 2-1, over Lisbon’s Hunter Schwab. Belland then pinned Beulah’s Denzel Sanders to advance to the finals where he was defeated, 7-0, by Hettinger’s Colbey Steeke.
At 285 pounds, Jackson Faller pinned Killdeer’s Curtis Hall and then lost to the DLB’s Austin Moen, the state’s No. 2 wrestler. Faller bounced back by pinning his next opponent before avenging an early season loss to Minot Ryan’s Nathan Lee in overtime. Faller lost his next two matches to the No. 3 and 4-ranked wrestlers in the tournament to finish in sixth place.
Watford City’s next action will be in the Region 4 Dual Tournament in Killdeer this weekend, before hosting the Region 4 Individual Tournament in Watford City on Feb. 13. Both tournaments will be state-qualifying events.