Wrestling Wolves to compete in Region 4 Tournament
By Frank Fish
How many wrestling Wolves will advance to the State Wrestling Tournament at the Fargo Dome on Feb. 17-19 will be decided this Saturday as Watford City competes in the Region 4 Tournament in Hettinger.
With the top four individuals in each weight class advancing, Watford City has a great chance of sending 14 wrestlers to the State meet as 12 Wolves are rated among the top four in the region in their respective weight class.
At 103 pounds, Coleton Jore, an eighth grader with a record of 7-13, should be right in the thick of it. He most likely will be seeded No. 4 or 5 in the region, and will have to win two matches to qualify for State. Jore has been improving all season long, and is determined in his quest for a state birth.
At 112 pounds, Jake Scott, a freshman with a 14-16 record, will be seeded third, and will have his biggest test making the finals from Coleton Neumiller, New Salem. Scott has been beaten by Neumiller and Jared Lee-Gay, Killdeer, this season, but you never know in this tournament. Making the finals would qualify him for State, but a couple of wins in the wrestle-backs would also qualify him for State.
At 119 pounds for Watford City will be Isaac Laris, a transfer from Idaho with a 17-12 record. Most of Laris’ losses have come at higher weight classes early in the season. He is in the toughest weight class in the region as it is predicted that the four qualifiers from Region 4 at 119 pounds have a great chance of placing in the top eight at state. Laris will be seeded fourth in the region tournament. This weight class has three of last year’s state place winners in it, including the 112-pound State Champion, Cody Neumiller, New Salem.
At 125 pounds, Joe Nelson, a sophomore with a record of 7-16 record, will be seeded No. 4 or 5 in the region and will have to win two matches to qualify for State. The 125-pound class is very balanced and a tough one to come out of. He has been improving all season long. Nelson failed to qualify last season, which gives him added incentive to qualify this year.
At 130 pounds, Trevor Kalberer with an 18-10 record, will be seeded second and will have his biggest test making the semifinals from Cole Kupper, Killdeer. Kalberer pinned Kupper earlier this season, but was trailing in the match at the time. Making the finals would qualify him for State. Kalberer is a freshman, and placed second last year at 112 pounds in the region.
At 135 pounds for Watford City is Brady Lund, a senior with a 25-0 record. Lund will be only one of two number-one seeds in the tournament for the Wolves, and will face his toughest competition from Garret Tabor, Killdeer. Lund has beaten Tabor several times so far this season. Lund was the region champion at 135 pounds last season, and at 125 pounds in 2009.
At 140 pounds, senior Jake Thomas has a 25-5 record, and has an awesome cradle. He is last year’s region champion at 145, and will be shooting for that spot on Saturday. In order to repeat, Thomas will have to make the finals and defeat the No. 1 140-pounder in the state, Sean Elkins, Hettinger. Elkins has beaten Thomas once this season, and finished ahead of him at the East/West Tournament in New Salem.
Austin Garmann, with a 5-10 record, fills the 145-pound slot. He is better than his record indicates as he did not wrestle last season and is still learning. Garmann is currently rated third in the region, and with a couple of wins in the regional, should qualify for the state tournament.
Karson Knudtson, a senior with a 26-5 record, will be seeded first at 152 pounds. If he makes the finals, he should meet up with Lane Overson, Killdeer. Knudtson has beaten Overson three times this season, but each match has come right down to the wire. These two put on a great show. Knudtson placed second in the region and fifth in the state last season at 152 pounds.
Nolan Kalberer with a 18-14 record will get the number 2 seed at 160 pounds. He will have to beat Anthony Dukart, Killdeer, in the semis to have a shot at a region championship. Dalton Reinfeld, New Salem, is the number one seed at this weight class.
At 171 pounds, Kalin Mogen, a senior with a record of 26-6, will be seeded first and should meet up with Isaiah Krebs, Beulah, in the finals. Mogen has wrestled Krebs four times this season, winning three of the four matches. Mogen was second at 160 pounds last season in the region and fifth in the state.
At 189 pounds, Branden Meuth, a senior with a 13-8 record, will be seeded second. The top cowboy in the weight class is Grady Houghton, Killdeer, a sure state place winner this year. Meuth has yet to beat him in their two matches this season. Meuth could turn the tables this time around, if they should happen to meet in the finals.
At 285 pounds for the Wolves will be Kye Bolken, a seventh grader who has won three important matches for Watford City this season. Bolken will be seeded No. 4, and will have to win at least one match in the wrestle-backs to qualify for State.
The Wolves are the defending champion team in the region, winning it all in 2009 and 2010. In the individual region tournament, Killdeer looks like the team to beat, with Hettinger and Watford City definitely in the running. Killdeer has a very good, balanced team for this type of tournament. They have a wrestler rated in the top four in every weight class in the latest coaches’ poll. Watford City has 12 rated fourth or better, and Hettinger has 10.
This year the Wolves have secured a spot in the State Dual Tournament by defeating Killdeer, Hettinger and Beulah in dual meet action and being the 2011 Region 4 Dual Meet Champions.
The individual Region 4 Tournament will be held at the Hettinger High School Gym starting at 11 a.m. Central Time. Wrestling action will be continuous with very few breaks.