WRESTLING FAMILY: Braun brothers look to build off strong WDA tourney
The Braun family takes their wrestling seriously. So much, that they have their own room in the house dedicated to the sport.
Inside the Braun's house is a wrestling mat and weight room that 2013 Jamestown High School graduate Zane Braun formerly used, and now junior Noah and eighth-grader Aden Braun currently take advantage of.
"It's fun for sure," Aden said. "Sometimes you get into some scraps though."
Aden and Noah Braun both won the West Region tournament at 106 and 145 pounds, respectively, Saturday held North of Belcourt on the Turtle Mountain Community College campus. Eight others will be joining the Braun brothers at the Class A state wrestling tournament Feb. 14-16 at the Fargodome.
Last year's 120-pound state champion Ethan Bowman will be making another appearance at state along with fellow returners, Paul Vandal (220), Samuel Krebs (195) and Aaron Mack (182). Johnny Browning (160 pounds), Joel Bowman (113), Colton Mewes (138) and Coty Huebner (170) all missed out on the big dance last season.
"I'm seeded No. 1 right now, so I'm hoping to get that title this year and I've been working hard," Noah Braun said. "I've been wrestling a lot out of the JHS wrestling room and some of these guys don't get to as much."
Zane Braun was a one-time state champion in 2012 at 152 and holds the most Blue Jay victories in that weight class (36-1). Overall, he was a three-time state placer.
Noah tied his older brother for the third-most wins in Blue Jay history (129) on Saturday with his victory in the championship match at WDAs.
"It was pretty cool because my finals match at WDAs was the match that tied my brother," Noah said. "I thought it was awesome and something I will always remember."
Last year was a different story for Noah as knee issues sidelined him for much of sophomore year. In 2017-18, Braun placed sixth at state and totaled a 21-12 record. Noah currently has a record of 34-13, including 17 pins.
"Last season I had a lot of knee problems," Braun said. "It was rough, but I trained hard this summer with my wrestling partners.
"It was hard to see all these guys succeeding (last year) and I couldn't be by their side wrestling with them."
Noah's brother, Aden, lost at West Region's as a seventh-grader, but is ranked second in the state at 106 during his eighth-grade campaign. Aden has a 38-6 record and has pinned 23 of his opponents.
"It's been fun for sure and exciting because I didn't make it to state last year," Aden said. "This year I came back and did pretty good."
Bowman will look to repeat as Class A state champion after defeating Minot's Corey Hooker last year in a 5-2 decision. The third-ranked senior moved up six pounds (126) and will compete with the likes of Bismarck Century's Clay Radenz and Bismarck High's Laken Boese for a state title.
"It's unfortunate that we didn't get to match up with the two top wrestlers (at WDA), but that'll work out because they won't know what to expect," said Jamestown coach Larry Eslick. "I really think if Ethan stays solid on his feet, he'll not give up any points. If he can control the match, he'll be be fine and get through the tournament."
Vandal placed sixth last year during the state tournament, while Mack and Krebs both saw their seasons come to a close during day 2. Browning qualified for state last winter but a dislocated shoulder didn't allow him to compete.
Joel Bowman, Mewes and Coty Huebner will look to make waves during their state apparences Thursday at the Fargodome.
"They're pretty excited and they all want a state title," Eslick said of the group. "They're pretty humble kids and they're not talking about it a whole lot. They expressed they want a title, but they're working hard for it.
"So far, these kids have exceeded their goals."