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'Exceptional experience' coming back for Blue Jay wrestling

The Jamestown High School boys wrestling team is scheduled to kick off its season on Dec. 3.

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Coach Larry Eslick talks to the Blue Jay boy's wrestling team during a practice Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, at Jamestown High School.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN — Last week during the Class A Football State Championship game between Fargo North and Jamestown, Mark Ukestad made a comment on air that a Fargo North player was going to have a tough time getting past Jackson Walters.

In Uke's words:

"You're not going to get past a wrestler."

That's what JHS head boys wrestling coach Larry Eslick is counting on this winter.

"The heart and soul of that football team is the heart and soul
of the wrestling team too — seven of those 11 seniors are wrestlers," Eslick said. "A lot of them are banged up from football so they're still healing a little bit but we're excited to have everybody in the room."

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The Jays began practices on Nov. 7 and are scheduled to open up the season on Dec. 3 with the team's annual Knights of Columbus Tournament. The tourney is scheduled to be held at Jamestown's Jerry Meyer Arena, Times have yet to be determined.

Preseason rankings have the Jays' ranked as the No. 1 team in the West Region and No. 1 in State A individuals. Jamestown is picked second in the State A dual

"The amount of experience that we have in the room this year is exceptional," Eslick said. "We can really get going fast and get the kids in shape quicker. We are excited about that. It's like we are picking up right where we left off last year."

MORE BLUE JAY COVERAGE
The Jamestown High School boys hockey team took on Bismarck High on Dec. 8, 2022, at Wilson Arena.

The Jays are returning 10 state placers and are the only team in the entire state that did not graduate anyone.

Aden Braun and Colton Mewes won their first career state titles last winter, Braun at 138 pounds and Mewes at 160. Grady Anderson and Jackson Walters were named the state runners-up in their respective weight classes.

Pete Rasmussen wound up placing fifth at 120 while Preston Gall placed fourth at 182. Bo Nelson placed seventh in the 220-pound title match.

Gall will be out of the lineup this season due to a torn patella he sustained in the Class A football semifinal game. While he will presumably miss the entire season, his twin brother Ethan is stepping up to fill his shoes.

Ethan participated in club wrestling as a youngster but hasn't been on a mat since making the switch to basketball.

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"We're excited to have him," Eslick said. "He's a beast and a force and I think we could use him anywhere from 200 to heavyweight.

"We have depth in all of our classes and numbers to work with," he said. "The program is in really good shape and that's exciting. We're excited with the team we have."

The Jays will have a good basis of how its grade-A team will perform in the face of tough competition right out of the gate.

"You always have to include Bismarck High," Eslick said. "They have always been the champion and they've never finished worse than third. Bismarck High is always ready to wrestle, they have a strong tradition but we believe we have a team that can hold its own against them."

BHS is the Jays' first conference test of the year. The dual is scheduled to be held at Bismarck High on Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Eslick said he is also tagging Bismarck Legacy and Minot as two of the other top contenders in the West Region.

"I like everyone picking us No. 1 but it's just a piece of paper. It's proven on the mat and I know that these kids will prove it on the mat," Eslick said. "Hopefully, we'll be one of those teams at the top this year."

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 kringer@jamestownsun.com or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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