Top of the class: Jays’ Braun wins 152-pound state championshipJamestown junior Zane Braun had state-title aspirations all season long. Following a second-place finish at the West Region tournament, the 152-pound grappler said he knew he had to step up his game if he was going to find himself atop the podium at the season’s final meet.
By: By Jamestown Sun Staff, The Jamestown Sun
Jamestown junior Zane Braun had state-title aspirations all season long.
Following a second-place finish at the West Region tournament, the 152-pound grappler said he knew he had to step up his game if he was going to find himself atop the podium at the season’s final meet.
“We practiced at 5 a.m. every day from (the West Region meet) to state,” said Braun. “You get a little boost from that. I just went into the tournament with the mindset that we’re going to win.”
And win he did.
Braun defeated second-seeded Bryce Fish of Grand Forks Central to capture the 152-pound title on Saturday at the state wrestling tournament in Bismarck.
“It was pretty special for everybody involved — the coaches, him, his mom and dad in the stands,” said JHS coach Greg White. “It was pretty exciting.”
Braun, who is the first Blue Jay to win a state championship since 2008, ended his junior season with a sparkling 39-6 record that ended in triumph.
“It’s wonderful,” said Braun of winning his first state title. “Everybody was there to experience it, so it was a lot of fun.”
Braun won by injury default after Fish pulled out of the match because of a head injury, but the Jamestown junior had the match well in hand with an 8-2 lead before the match was called early.
“He was dominant throughout the whole tournament,” White said. “It was just an amazing performance.”
Lucas Krueger and Robert Regan were the last two individual champions for the Blue Jays. They both won state titles in 2008 at 135 and 189 pounds, respectively.
“I had the goal of winning state, and I didn’t want anybody to stop me from reaching that,” Braun said. “I just went out and did what I needed to do.”
Braun’s road to the championship wasn’t an easy one, featuring two opponents he had yet to beat this season, one being Fish and the other was West Region foe Eddie Maisey from Williston, who Braun topped in the semifinals.
Jamestown went on to finish 10th as a team with a score of 86.5, narrowly beating out Fargo Davies’ team score of 86. West Fargo took the title with a score of 223 and Bismarck followed in second with 191.5.
“We kind of bounced around all day,” said White. “We were in ninth for a while then dropped to 12th. … Finally, when it was all settled, we were in 10th by a half a point.”
Braun’s first-place finish wasn’t the only contributor to Jamestown’s team finish.
Junior Jaden Horsted worked his way through the wrestlebacks to capture third place following a 6-2 decision over Dickinson’s Devin Berger.
“It really was a good weekend for him,” White said. “Going into this thing he was seeded fourth, so it was another case of achieving more than he was supposed to.”
Eathan Gumke finished fourth at 170 after being seeded fourth, while Paxton Mewes finished sixth at 106 and Ryan Hillerud placed eighth at 138.
All five of Jamestown’s wrestlers competing in the final day were able to secure spots on the podium, and what’s perhaps even greater for White is that all five will be returning next season.
“All five of them that placed will be back,” said White. “It’s pretty neat to think that we’re going to have those guys ready to go and we can then build a lineup around them.”