Saturday was a good day for the Jamestown High School wrestling team.
The Blue Jays wrestled their way to a fourth-place team finish at the West Region tournament at Watford City High School. Next up for Jamestown: the Class A state tournament Feb. 20-22 at the Fargodome.
"We had a good day," Blue Jay wrestling coach Larry Eslick said. "We qualified 12 individuals to the individual state tournament and we had several wrestlers wrestle to their seed or better. We had just a little bit of a disappointment at 106, but other than that it was a great day for us."
The team's fourth-place finish was not the only finish Eslick and the Blue Jay squad were happy about.
"We're really happy that we had three finalists," Eslick said. "Aden Braun at 113 finished runner-up, at 126 Joel (Bowman) finished runner-up there and at heavyweight, Damien Krebs finished second."
Braun faced, in Eslick's words, his "nemesis" Christian Tanefeu of Bismarck High in the 113-pound class. The two met at the 2019 state individual tourney -- a match Braun lost. Tanefeu topped Braun in a 4-2 decision. Bowman faced former state champion, Reece Barnhardt of Bismarck St. Mary's, while Krebs hit the mat under Bismarck Century's Konnor Stordalen. Krebs fell in a 4-0 decision.
"We had quite a few wrestlers wrestle above their seed," Eslick said. "Colton Mewes, a freshman finished third at 138, Johnny Browning a senior at 170 finished third -- finished above his seed -- and Austin Kessler, 195, finished fifth. Noah Braun finished third at 152 and freshman Jackson Walters finished fifth at 145."
Browning topped Nick Fiedler of Watford City in a 5-1 decision, while Mewes defeated Bismarck's Preston Fettig in a 2-1 decision. Kessler got the win over Beau Matson due to a major forfeit.
While the Blue Jays gave their coach a reason to be proud, the coach, in turn, gave the boys in blue something to be proud of. Eslick was named the 2020 WDA Coach of The Year at the conclusion of the West Regional.
"A coach is only as good as his assistants and his team," Eslick said. "I give a lot of credit to my assistants and the support system I have around me in parents, family and most of all my Savior Jesus Christ."
With a short week ahead of them, the West Region coach of the year and his fourth-seeded squad will focus on the biggest tourney of the year. The Blue Jays will be competing in the state dual tournament as a member of the West Region for the first time in program history.
"I think we are going to do well at the state meet," Eslick said. "A lot of our guys I believe will be seeded, we should have some good seeds going into the tournament and that's key having a good position in the state tournament.
"We're a young team and it's a great experience to qualify 12, nine of those qualifiers are returning next year so that is exciting. We're looking forward to the tournament, we've got a short week so we've got to get to work and right now it's just the mental focus we've got to work on."
West Region wrestling Regional
1. Bismarck 286.5, 2. Bismarck Century 206.5, 3. Minot 198, 4. Jamestown 167, 5. Dickinson 132, 6. Bismarck Legacy 111, 7. Bismarck St. Mary’s 110.5, 8. Mandan 81, 9. Watford City 59, 10. Williston 53.5, 11. Turtle Mountain 49.
Individual winners / Blue Jay results
106: 1st Place Match LJ Araujo (Bismarck) 30-2, 8th. over Jesse Thompson (Bismarck Legacy) 38-14, Fr. (Fall 4:52); 7th Place Match Noah Savageau (Bismarck) 18-11, So. over Pete Rasmussen (Jamestown) 23-18, Fr. (Dec 3-0).
113: 1st Place Match Christian Tanefeu (Bismarck) 41-4, Jr. over Aden Braun (Jamestown) 28-5, Fr. (Dec 4-2).
120: 1st Place Match Wilfried Tanefeu (Bismarck) 42-1, Jr. over Hayden Johnsrud (Bismarck Century) 34-16, Sr. (Fall 1:15); 3rd Place Match Kaden DeCoteau (Bismarck Century) 40-11, Fr. over Talor Huebner (Jamestown) 25-21, Jr. (Dec 5-0).
126: 1st Place Match Reece Barnhardt (Bismarck St. Mary`s) 45-1, Jr. over Joel Bowman (Jamestown) 43-10, So. (TF-1.5 4:27 (20-4))
132: 1st Place Match Kaden Renner (Bismarck) 38-8, So. over Kelby Armstrong (Minot) 22-4, Sr. (Dec 6-3)
138: 1st Place Match Clay Radenz (Bismarck Century) 35-4, Jr. over Trevon McClanahan (Minot) 38-5, Sr. (Dec 12-8); 3rd Place Match Colton Mewes (Jamestown) 29-7, Fr. over Preston Fettig (Bismarck) 33-11, Sr. (Dec 2-1)
145: 1st Place Match Drew Steidler (Bismarck St. Mary`s) 10-0, Sr. over Troy Berg (Dickinson) 37-6, So. (Dec 5-0)
152: 1st Place Match Brock Fettig (Bismarck) 40-6, So. over Will Kleinknecht (Mandan) 46-12, Sr. (Dec 5-2); 3rd Place Match Noah Braun (Jamestown) 38-13, Sr. over Draken Stugelmeyer (Bismarck Legacy) 32-18, So. (Dec 10-4)
160: 1st Place Match Chase Burke (Minot) 38-8, Jr. over Brandt Kringlie (Bismarck) 11-1, Jr. (Dec 5-2)
170: 1st Place Match Gage Roaldson (Bismarck) 40-4, Sr. over Jacob Boehm (Bismarck Century) 30-16, Jr. (Fall 1:29); 3rd Place Match
Johnny Browning (Jamestown) 17-4, Sr. over Nick Fiedler (Watford City) 26-16, Jr. (Dec 5-1)
182: 1st Place Match Isaiah Huus (Bismarck) 37-4, So. over Anthony Carranza (Bismarck Century) 24-12, Jr. (TF-1.5 3:54 (16-0)); 3rd Place Match Isaac Fernandez (Minot) 25-15, Jr. over Coty Huebner (Jamestown) 28-19, Sr. (Dec 4-3)
195: 1st Place Match Tanner Jarrett (Dickinson) 26-7, Jr. over Jacob Carmichael (Minot) 31-7, Sr. (SV-2 (Fall) 6:30) 5th Place Match Austin Kessler (Jamestown) 21-16, Jr. over Beau Matson (Watford City) 9-5, Fr. (M. For.)
220: 1st Place Match Preston Jones (Minot) 23-12, Sr. over Malikai Rivera (Dickinson) 23-12, Jr. (Dec 11-5)' 5th Place Match Hunter Harvey (Bismarck Century) 8-20, Jr. over Dareeyn Davis (Jamestown) 10-19, Jr. (Dec 5-4).
285: 1st Place Match Konnor Stordalen (Bismarck Century) 30-6, Sr. over Damien Krebs (Jamestown) 24-6, Jr. (Dec 4-0).