Jays stay optimisticWithout even wrestling a single match in the Class A state tournament, Jamestown has already had to overcome some form of adversity this week. Jamestown coach Greg White said Eathan Gumke, who was seeded at 170 pounds, will miss the Class A state tournament because of mononucleosis.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Without even wrestling a single match in the Class A state tournament, Jamestown has already had to overcome some form of adversity this week.
Jamestown coach Greg White said Eathan Gumke, who was seeded at 170 pounds, will miss the Class A state tournament because of mononucleosis. He recently finished fourth at the West Region tournament last Saturday.
Still, White remains optimistic on what his team can do when the Class A state tournament starts Thursday at the Fargodome. The Blue Jays qualified 10 to state and have three seeded in freshman Paxton Mewes (113) and seniors Jaden Horsted (132) and Zane Braun (142). Braun, a defending state champion, is top-seeded while Horsted is third and Mewes is sixth.
“It’s nice to have that many seeded,” White said. “Hopefully, they’ll be able to make a statement.”
While Braun is chasing his second title, Horsted is going after his first. To get to the finals, he may have to go through second-seeded Curt Zachmeier of Mandan. Horsted (32-3) has lost to him twice, but early trouble put him in a hole both times, White said.
“We’re hoping that if they meet again, he doesn’t get himself into trouble,” White said.
Seniors Mitch Ova (138) and Mark Reynolds (285) are looking to go out on high notes, but the Blue Jays have built part of their foundation on youth as well.
The first one that comes to mind for White is freshman Brandyn Harr, who is 20-14 and unseeded at 160.
“He’s wrestled a long time, he’s got the right mindset, goes out and it doesn’t matter who it is, he’s gonna do what he knows how to do and he’s not gonna stop,” White said. “What you need out of any sport is a guy who just won’t stop, and that’s fun to have.”
Mewes, also a freshman, brings a 26-10 record into his match against Mandan freshman Caydon Cymbaluk. The coaches ran through the criteria and stacked Mewes sixth at 113, something that seems confusing at 182.
Jamestown’s Triston Shipley ran all the way through the West Region bracket as the No. 4 seed, even knocking off top-seeded Brandon Rodriguez of Turtle Mountain before falling in the finals. Yet, he’s unseeded in the tournament. Rodriguez is seeded third.
Compounding the problem is that unseeded wrestlers’ first-round matchups are drawn out of a hat, which didn’t do Shipley any favors. He meets top-seeded West Fargo senior Preston Lehmann (43-0), who is a defending state champion and one of the best at his weight class in the country.
Others for the Blue Jays are hoping to make some noise. Sophomore Kyle Anderson is unseeded at 220, while junior Caleb Ellingson wasn’t seeded, either. Ellingson boasts a winning record at 14-11, but will square up against No. 1-seeded Ricky Galindo of Bismarck High.
“He’s had trouble making our lineup,” White said. “We’ve made holes for him, but we really have some depth in there. It’s really exciting to have somebody like him around.”
Jamestown fell short in its quest for making the Class A state dual tournament, but this is a group White is fond of for many reasons. For one, it’ll be the last one White will coach as he’s set to retire after this weekend. But also because of what the group does off the mat. Horsted is an Eagle Scout and there could be as many as five academic all-staters on the team.
“To me, that’s pretty neat,” White said. “It’s an important thing for us to have these kids also be good students.”
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at email@example.com