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CHAMPIONS: JHS wrestling wins first home tourney in 20 years

Jamestown's Aaron Mack squeezes for a pin over Ethan Jerome, of Moorhead, Minn., during a 182-pound wrestling match Saturday at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun1 / 3
Jamestown's Braden Hatcher (top) puts some pressure on Fargo Davies' Ryan Barth during a 138-pound wrestling match Saturday at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 3
Jamestown's Aaron Mack squeezes for a pin over Ethan Jerome, of Moorhead (Minn.) during a 182-pound wrestling match Saturday at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun3 / 3

Jamestown High School wrestling coach Larry Eslick said he was on cloud nine on Saturday following the annual Knights of Columbus tournament at Jerry Meyer Arena.

The Blue Jays won their first home tournament in 20 years, according to coach Eslick. Jamestown scored 174 points, while Devils Lake was second with 144.

"I didn't think it would be that quite of a day, but we had epic performances," Eslick said. "I was proud of the kids' effort. It was one for the ages. I never experienced this before so I'm pinching myself."

The Blue Jays totaled a tournament-high 26 pins on Saturday afternoon, which averaged out to just under 2 minutes per match. Jamestown had a 37-15 record on the day.

"The kids were getting pins in the first round and finals. It was pretty special," Eslick said. "I've never seen anything like that in my 20 years here. The kids weren't timid at all."

Aden Braun, a 106-pound eighth grader, tied with Moorhead's (Minn.) Riley Schock for most pins on the day with four. Braun pinned three of his four opponents in the first period to take first place.

"He was dominate at 106," Eslick said. "He's a special type of wrestler that's fundamentally sound. He's been in big matches last year as a seventh grader too."

Senior 132-pound grappler Ethan Bowman, freshman Joel Bowman (113) and eighth-grader Colton Mewes (138) also won their respective weight classes. Mewes defeated teammate Braden Hatcher to take home the 138 title.

"138 was an epic bracket with Braden Hatcher and Colton Mewes," Eslick said. "I just thought to myself this morning that it would be bittersweet to see them go at it in the finals. It was a great match, between two great wrestlers.

"It's a nice problem to have with them in the same weight class, but we don't have a 145 pounder so maybe one of them will wrestle up."

Sophomore Talor Huebner (120), Hatcher, junior Johnny Browning (160), senior Aaron Mack (182) and senior Samuel Krebs all took home second-place finishes.

"Talor lost a heartbreaker at the end," Eslick said of Huebner's 7-6 decision to Devils Lake's Brandt Fisk. "But a solid tournament from Talor and he was his dominant self again."

The only scary part of the afternoon was a knee injury suffered to 152-pound Noah Braun. But Eslick said the junior should only be out a day or so.

"It was kind of unfortunate," Eslick said. "Noah's knee got underneath him, his knee popped and the kid (Devils Lake's James Fisk) pinned him."

Overall, 13 Jamestown athletes placed at the Knights of Columbus tournament.

The tournament win is big for the seventh-ranked Blue Jays as they finished ahead of No. 5 Valley City. Jamestown also has nine wrestlers ranked in the North Dakota Class A wrestling coaches' poll.

"Going forward, I think we'll be confident," Eslick said. "We did something that hasn't been done in their lifetime and I feel like we can contend within our conference and in the state. We'll make a statement going forward."

Jamestown travels to Bismarck High on Thursday for a triangular dual with the Demons, last season's Class A team state champion, and Watford City. The Blue Jays wrestle the Wolves at 4:30 p.m. and the Demons at 7:30 p.m.

"We're excited for a Bismarck High team that's always tough," Eslick said. "It'll be a challenge for us, but I think we match up pretty well with them. There's no team in the West we're afraid of.

"A lot of the kids feel like it's our time."

Team scores

1. Jamestown 174; 2. Devils Lake 144.5; 3. Fargo Davies 141; 4. Moorhead 136.5; 5. Valley City 104; 6. Fargo South 92.5; 7. Des Lacs-Burlington 88; Grand Forks Red River 55; Bismarck Legacy 8.

Jamestown results

Aden Braun (106): Round 1 - Braun pinned Griffin Quade (Moorhead). 1:56; Round 2 - Braun pinned Ethan Sprenger (Devils Lake), 2:48; Semifinals - Braun pinned Ethan Miller (Valley City), 1:05; First place - Braun pinned Koye Grebel (Valley City), 0:41.

Joel Bowman (113): Round 1 - Bowman pinned Kaleb Schwandt (Devils Lake), 0:43; Round 2 - Bowman pinned Bennett Rogelstad (Valley City), 5:56; Semifinals - Bowman pinned Tate Estenson (Devils Lake), 1:38; First place - Bowman maj dec. over Ashise Gurung (Fargo South), 9-1.

Talor Huebner (120): Round 1 - Huebner won by injury default over Clayton Nissko (Fargo Davies) Round 2 - Huebner received a bye; Round 3 - Huebner maj dec. over Austin Rogelstad (Valley City), 14-3; 1st Place - Brant Fisk (Devils Lake) dec. over Huebner, 7-6.

Ethan Bowman (132): Round 1 - Bowman pinned Nic Pfeifer (Valley City), 2:31; Round 2 - Bowman received a bye; Round 3 - Bowman pinned Hunter Barth (Fargo Davies), 2:24; 1st Place - Bowman pinned Blake Fraase (Fargo South), 1:28.

Braden Hatcher (138): Round 1 - Hatcher pinned Caedmon Marx (Bismarck Legacy), 1:03; Round 2 - Hatcher pinned Abraham Dimo (Moorhead), 1:13; Round 3 - Hatcher (Jamestown) maj. dec. over Ryan Barth (Fargo Davies), 13-1; 1st Place Match - Colton Mewes (Jamestown) won in tie breaker over Hatcher, 4-2.

Colton Mewes (138): Round 1 - Mewes pinned Kaden Rohloff (Grand Forks Red River), 2:35; Round 2 - Mewes pinned Cale Ibach (Des Lacs-Burlington), 1:50; Round 3 - Mewes pinned Evan Mielke (Valley City), 1:24; 1st Place - Mewes (Jamestown) won in tie breaker over Hatcher, 4-2.

Noah Braun (152): Round 1 - Braun pinned Faustin Ndikumwenayo (Fargo Davies), 2:52; Round 2 - Braun pinned Tyson Hovland (Valley City), 0:32; Round 3 - James Fisk (Devils Lake) pinned Braun, 2:59; 3rd Place - Walter Winkler (Des Lacs-Burlington) won by medical forfeit over Braun.

Johnny Browning (160): Round 1 - Browning pinned Moctar Diop (Fargo Davies), 0:56; Round 2 - Browning pinned Micah Pemble (Moorhead), 1:18; Round 3 - Browning pinned Jonah Schuldheisz (Valley City), 0:43; 1st Place - Connor Chloupek (Fargo Davies) sudden victory over Browning, 15-11.

Coty Huebner (170): Round 1 - Jaden Mairs (Fargo Davies) pinned Huebner , 1:17; Round 2 - Caleb Bonness (Des Lacs-Burlington) maj. dec. Huebner, 9-0; Round 3 - Hayden Netland (Moorhead) dec. over Huebner, 6-5; 7th Place - Austin Kessler (Jamestown) dec. over Huebner, 4-2.

Austin Kessler (170): Round 1 - David Peterson (Valley City) pinned Kessler, 1:10; Round 2 - Colby Rance (Devils Lake) pinned Kessler, 3:19; Round 3 - Micaiah Peterson (Grand Forks Red River) pinned Kessler, 2:34; 7th Place - Kessler dec. over Coty Huebner (Jamestown), 4-2.

Aaron Mack (182): Round 1 - Mack pinned Reis Hermanson (Des Lacs-Burlington), 2:36; Round 2 - Mack received a bye; Round 3 - Mack pinned Ethan Jerome (Moorhead), 1:40; 1st Place - Riley Schock (Moorhead) pinned Mack, 1:08.

Samuel Krebs (195): Round 1 - Krebs received a bye; Round 2 - Krebs pinned Firas Omar (Fargo Davies), 1:07; Round 3 - Krebs pinned Sean Thompson (Fargo South), 1:18; 1st Place - Coy Spooner (Des Lacs-Burlington) dec. Krebs, 5-0.

Damien Krebs (285): Round 1 - Krebs received a bye; Round 2 - Krebs pinned Cody Lugo (Moorhead), 2:23; Round 3 - Jaden Oestern (Valley City) dec. over Krebs, 9-8; 3rd Place - Krebs pinned Jack Kuntz (Devils Lake), 1:06.

Mitchell Johnson

Hometown: Enumclaw, WA; College: Central Washington University

(360) 918-1853