Title to treasure: Jamestown’s Gumke secures 195-pound state championship with 3-0 decision
BISMARCK — Taking a quick glance at the wrestling shoes belonging to Jamestown senior Eathan Gumke one might conclude they have seen better days.
That would be false because Saturday — the final time Gumke laced up the broken-in, hole-ridden shoes — was the finest day in the standout grappler’s prep career.
Gumke (38-5) won an individual state championship match at 195 pounds during the Class A state tournament at the Bismarck Civic Center.
“It is a dream come true,” said Gumke. “Not a lot of wrestlers can say they have won a state championship.”
Gumke, who spent most of the season ranked No. 1 at 195, scored a 3-0 decision over West Fargo senior Tanner Kuznia in the championship match.
Gumke led 3-0 heading into the final period and was able to prevent Kuznia from scoring in the final two minutes.
“I knew I had to be sound on my shoot defense,” Gumke said. “I knew it was coming. He was a very tough opponent.”
The previous best finish at a state tournament for Gumke was a fourth-place showing at 170 pounds as a sophomore. Illness prevented Gumke from competing at state as a junior, which left Saturday as his last shot for a title.
“I was extremely nervous heading into the match,” said Gumke, who plans to study mechanical engineering at North Dakota State. “It was the last time I would be stepping on the mat.”
As for the shoes he has worn since his freshman year. They too are retired.
“You could say they are my lucky shoes,” Gumke said. “Now they are going on the shelf.”
Along with Gumke, Jamestown had three other wrestlers become state placers for this season.
Sophomore Paxton Mewes continued his strong prep career by beating Christian Ramberg of West Fargo by 9-2 decision to get into the third-place match, where he was injured and finished fourth to Turtle Mountain’s Tanner Crissler.
Senior Caleb Ellingson started the day with an 8-2 win over Bismarck’s Jake Sanders, but fell 7-2 to Century’s Hunter Babeck. Ellingson won the fifth-place match by beating Fargo South’s Logan Rhode — his first-round opponent — by 5-0 decision.
Junior Kyle Anderson’s amazing run to the state semifinals didn’t end as well as he would have liked. The junior had pinned No. 1 seed Shawn Greenwood of Bismarck Century and No. 8 seed Colt Goulet of Grand Forks Red River on Thursday, but was beaten in the semifinals by fall in 45 seconds by eventual state champion Olaf Hanson of Fargo North. Anderson finished in sixth place, getting pinned by West Fargo’s Adalberto Rodriguez in 1:36.
The Blue Jays finished 13th overall with 67 points, falling short of Jamestown coach Larry Eslick’s goal of a top-10 finish by a mere eight points.
Bismarck edged West Fargo for the team title.
Jamestown will be relatively young next season, but does return most of its team. The loss of four seniors will likely hurt as Gumke, Ellingson and Shipley were ranked in the Class A poll for most of the season. However, Anderson and Mewes will return as state placers.