Blue Jays match, break records at state wrestling tourney

The Jamestown High School wrestling team competed at the 2022 Class A State Wrestling Tournament in Fargo on Feb. 18.

Jamestown’s Aden Braun wrestles Minot’s Victor Garcia during the North Dakota Individual Wrestling Tournament championships Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in the Fargodome.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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For the last three years, Aden Braun has been walked out of the Fargodome as the second-best wrestler in his respective weight class.

Not so on Friday.

Braun, a junior for the Jamestown High School wrestling team, took down Minot's Victor Garcia in the 138-pound, 2022 Class A State Wrestling Tournament, finals to claim the first state title of his career.

"I had faith in my coaches, my experience, and God that I could win this match," Braun said. "I knew that the match was about to end and I saw the opportunity and took it. I knew I sealed it when I inside tripped him in the final seconds.

"I had tears of joy and was glad to share the moment with my coaches, teammates, family, and friends."


Braun was one of five Blue Jay wrestlers to advance to the individual championship round. The Blue Jays will wrap up the tournament with the dual competition on Saturday.

Braun (40-4) put together an impressive last period of the title match. Garcia held the No. 1 ranked Braun to and 0-0 score after one and managed to take an early 1-0 lead in the second.

An escape from Braun knotted things up at 1-1 heading into the third. Braun said he had wrestled Garcia at the Rumble on the Red and had a good match with him. Braun said Garcia is a good wrestler and good at defense, so he knew he had to do something special.

Whatever he wound up doing in the specifics of the match, Braun produced four more points prior to time expiring. The final was a 5-1 decision by the Blue Jay junior.

At last week's WDA championships in Jamestown, Garcia won the WDA 138-pound title due to a medical forfeit by Braun who suffered a high-ankle sprain at the Lee Wolf Invitational on Jan. 29.

Since spraining his ankle, Braun was out of competition contention for the Jays' final WDA match against Bismarck Legacy.

"I was not 100% but good enough to still win it," Braun said. "The hyperbaric chamber clinic and the glacial peak cryotherapy were a huge part of my recovery right here in Fargo, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support and help from everyone."

JHS head coach Larry Eslick added:


"It was pretty emotional. A three-time runner-up finally got his championship. That's pretty special.

"We're pretty proud of all of the effort of these kids and what they represent. They did Jamestown proud."

Braun's older brothers Zane and Noah, also former individual champs for head coach Larry Eslick and the Jays, have teased their younger bother mercilessly since he has come up empty on the title front.

With another year yet to wrestle, along with a football state championship title, under his belt, Braun might be the one giving his older brothers some grief.

"Being a state champ is a dream come true and I am super thankful for everyone that helped me become a state champ," Braun said.

Mewes dominates West Fargo's Porter

Just a few minutes after Braun's arm was raised signaling his victory, Colton Mewes had the same thing happen to him.

Mewes, another junior for the Jays, cruised to a 10-0 major over Tyler Porter of West Fargo in the 160-pound finals. The junior breezed through the first round, quarterfinals and semifinals on Thursday, coming through with a pair a pin, a hard-fought overtime win to clinch a spot in the semis and another pin.

"These kids were focused, they had a goal and they wanted to prove to everyone that this season wasn't a fluke," Eslick said. "It was an incredible day."


Mewes was perfect from a WDA dual standpoint, going 9-0 overall. Five of his dual wins came in the form of pins. Porter was in danger of being Mewes' third pin of the weekend but due to a rather conservative effort by Mewes, the Packer held out until time expired.

"We started testing these boys when they were young," Eslick said. "At five, six, seven years old they were traveling all over the state. These kids have believed in it and worked for it. It's all culminating now. It's a special weekend and we're blessed to be a part of it."

Anderson, Walters take second in title tilts

The Blue Jays' championship night started out with a bang with Grady Anderson taking on Kaden Decoteau of Bismarck Century in the 132-pound match. Anderson was the 120-pound state runners-up a season ago while Decoteau had lost the previous two seasons in the state semifinals match.

Decoteau struck first with a cross ankle to earn two points with 1:11 left in the first period. Anderson cut the lead to one with an escape with about 50 seconds. The legs became a key element for the two 132-pounders, with a pair of back-to-back moves putting Decoteau taking a 4-3 lead.

Anderson proved unable to counter his WDA rival's moves late in the second, dropping down 9-3 to start the first frame. The clock favored Decoteau, as he wound up getting the 11-5 major over Anderson to claim his title.

"Our kids had an incredible tournament," Eslick said. "We tied our record of nine placers. These kids wrestled their hearts out."

A 10-6 decision pitched by Bismarck Legacy's Draken Stugelmeyer sealed Jackson Walters' fate on the mat. Walters, had barely defeated Strugelmeyer on Feb. 4, but managed to squeak out a 6-5 decision.

Strugelmeyer wrestled 15 more matches this season than Walters, who ended his junior season at 29-6. The 170-pounder also went undefeated in his dual schedule going 9-0.

Jamestown had never had five semifinalists at the state level prior to this weekend. Friday marked the Jays' first time being named state-runners up of the individual tournament in 25 years.

"Grady is only a sophomore and Jackson will be back next year," Eslick said. "These kids are incredible. They did everything we asked. We are so proud of these kids and their effort. They left it out on the mat."

Team scores

1. Bismarck 186.5; 2. Jamestown 149.5; 3. Dickinson 136; 4. West Fargo Sheyenne 130.5; 5. Valley City 129.5; 6. Minot 126.5; 7. St. Mary’s 111; 8. West Fargo 108.5; 9. Bismarck Legacy 108; 10. Bismarck Century 83.5; 11. Fargo Davies 81; 12. Williston 78.5; 13. Watford City 65; 14. Devils Lake 49.5; 15. Breckenridge/Wahpeton 43.5; 16. Fargo North 43; 17. Grand Forks Central 42; 18. Mandan 22; 19. Turtle Mountain 15; 20. Grand Forks Red River 12.5; 21. Fargo South 9

Individual matches

Championship: DeCoteau, BC, dec Anderson, Jam, 11-5
3rd place: Spray, WFS, dec Irwin, WF, 6-5
5th place: Gillen, Dic, dec Maughan, FN, 9-6
7th place: Richter, SM, dec Winn-Kelley 9-5

Championship: Braun, Jam, dec, Garcia, Min, 5-1
3rd place: Johnson, WFS, dec Lengenfelder, SM, 3-1
5th place: Owens, BW, maj dec Richter, Dic, 11-3
7th place: Leonard, TM, dec Ferderer, BC, 9-4

Championship: Araujo, Bis, maj dec Cressell, WF, 13-0
3rd place: Crimmins, Dic, dec Miller, VC, 6-2
5th place: Manske, WFS, dec Hussaini, FS, 1-0
7th place: Young, DL, pin Sanders, Bis, 1:3

Championship: Felchle, SM, dec Kadrmas 5-3 OT
3rd place: Anderson, WF, forfeit over Jones, Will
5th place: Ruddy, BW, dec Charboneau, DL, 7-3
7th place: Hoornaert, WFS, dec Grad, SM, 4-3

Championship: Mewes, Jam, maj dec Porter, WF, 10-0
3rd place: Berg, Dic, dec Jangula, Bis, 3-0
5th place: Jones, Min, maj dec Gums, BC, 9-1
7th place: Hovland, VC, dec Marks, SM, 1-0

Championship: Stugelmeyer, BL, dec Walters, Jam, 10-6
3rd place: Richter, SM, dec Ward, FN, 5-4
5th place: Snyder, BL, dec Estenson, DL, 7-1
7th place: Larson, Will, dec Lassonde, GFC, 7-0

Championship: Fettig, Bis, pin Taylor, BC, 2:36
3rd place: Porter, WF, dec Gall, Jam, 8-2
5th place: Devine, FD, dec Draper, Will, 3-1 OT
7th place: Cunningham, Min, maj dec Schuldheisz, VC, 10-0

Championship: Nagel, Bis, dec Muske, VC, 7-3
3rd place: Melvin, Dic, inj def Matson, WC, 4:36
5th place: Haskins, GFC, dec Radenz, SM, 5-2
7th place: Post, WFS, dec Byer, Min, 8-5

Championship: Huus, Bis, dec Turnbow, Min, 3-0
3rd place: Schuldheisz, VC, dec Windsor, SM, 3-0
5th place: Riely, Will, dec Mavity, Dic, 4-3
7th place: Nelson, Jam, pin Lafontaine, GFRR, 4:00

Championship: Hayes, WC, pin Carlquist, FD, 3:36
3rd place: Cadreau, FN, dec Burchill, BW, 7-2
5th place: Suda, GFC, pin Darby, Jam, 2:01
7th place: Gerhardt, Man, pin Robinson, Jam, 3:46

Championship: Grebel, VC, pin Zink, WFS, 1:18
3rd place: Enzminger, BL, forfeit over Egeberg, Bis
5th place: Nuur, FD, dec Copenhaver, Will, 6-0
7th place: Larson, Will, dec Dahmus, 5-2

Championship: DeForest, Bis, dec Gisselbeck, WFS, 3-1
3rd place: Glaser, Dic, dec Marker, Min, 4-3
5th place: Grimm, SM, dec Mathiason, FD, 3-1
7th place: Enzminger, BL, maj dec Hoff, Man, 10-2

Championship: Grebel, VC, tech fall Lindstrom, DL, 16-1
3rd place: Thompson, BL, dec Boekelman, WC, 8-3
5th place: Rasmussen, Jam, dec Morel, Dic, 4-3
7th place: Kuntz, BC, dec Llamas, Min, 4-1

Championship: Mortensen, Min, dec Kosidowski, FD, 4-2
3rd place: Zink, WFS, dec Hansen, Will, 3-2
5th place: Morris, BC, forfeit over Harvison, Bis
7th place: Richter, SM, dec Hegney, Man, 6-1

Katie Ringer is a sports reporter for the Jamestown Sun. Katie joined the Sun staff in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in journalism. She can be reached by email at or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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