Energy, excitement and experience.
All three testify to the 2019-20 Jamestown High School wrestling team. The Blue Jays open the season hosting Bismarck Century on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"The team is looking great," JHS coach Larry Eslick said. "We have a lot returning from last year's team that placed fourth in the state. We graduated five solid seniors and a state champion, but we have three state placers returning and a full solid lineup with a lot of experience."
JHS graduate Paul Vandal came home a state champ last February. Vandal pinned Fargo South's Isaiah Gates to claim the 220-pound Class A state title. While Vandal and former Blue Jays Aaron Mack and Samuel Krebs will no longer appear on the JHS roster, Eslick said the Jays should have another shot at the state tourney.
"The lineup, if you look on paper, is pretty young -- a lot of freshmen," Eslick said. "But these are freshmen that have been literally raised in the sport."
State runner-up Aden Braun will be returning for the Jays. The JHS freshman fell in the 106-pound title tilt in overtime to Bismarck High's Christian Tanefeu. Braun will wrestle at 113 this season.
"He should be pretty solid. He had 41 wins as an eighth-grader," Eslick said. "He's only one of five people in our history to get 40 wins in a season so he's a pretty special wrestler.
"He's on a mission. He lost that state championship match in overtime and he's focused, "Eslick continued. "He doesn't want to lose the match like that again. It's going to be an interesting year for him."
Braun's teammate and brother, Noah Braun, will also step foot on the mat for one last season with the Jays. Though Braun was the No. 1 seed in last year's tourney, due to injuries he was unable to earn a state title. Eslick said the senior captain is ready for a final go in the blue and white.
"He's our leader. He's our heart and soul," Eslick said. "It's exciting to have him returning. He's been just a staple in our lineup year in and year out."
Joining the Braun duo are state tournament placers Colton Mewes (Fresh.) and Joel Bowman (Soph.). Mewes placed eighth in the 138-pound weight class in Bismarck while Bowman placed third at 113.
Crey Anderson (8th), Jackson Walters (Fresh.), Taylor Huebner (Jun.), Damien Krebs (Jun.), Dareeyn Davis (Jun.), Coty Huebner (Sen.) and Johnny Browning, (Sen.) will join the four state-placers to round out Eslick's experienced and energetic roster.
"With a lot of freshmen and some solid senior leadership it's a nice mix," Eslick said. "It's a good group and a fun group. They are working hard and they're going to make a name for themselves for sure."
Bismarck High took the top spot in the preseason coaches' poll, while Minot and Century sit at No. 2 and No. 3. Dickinson and Mandan round out the state's top five teams. Jamestown sits in eighth. The individual poll will be released later this week.
"I am excited to see where this team goes," Eslick said. "Like I said, on paper, it looks so young and I think a lot of teams will look at that and take us for granted but there really isn't a weak spot in our lineup.
"I am really expecting this team to make some noise in the West," Eslick said. "I am looking forward to see where these young kids end up."