FARGO -- The sixth time was the charm Saturday.
Jamestown High School's Noah Braun made his final appearance at the Fargodome this weekend and ended his time as a Blue Jay in dramatic fashion. The JHS senior topped the podium in the North Dakota Class A State Individual Wrestling Tournament at 152 pounds, defeating top-seeded Brock Fettig of Bismarck High in an 8-3 decision.
"It's still kind of hard to get my mind wrapped around it," Braun said of the championship win. "It's been a big dream for a long time, being in that position and winning it."
Braun has been wrestling for the Blue Jays' varsity squad since his seventh-grade season, making an appearance at state all six years. His final trip was the first time Braun had advanced all the way to the championship round.
"It's just a dream come true," Jamestown High School wrestling head coach Larry Eslick said. "It's been years, and years, and years we've been talking about it. He's been so close, he's been a five-time placer for us and to end his career with a championship is just great."
Braun's position on top of the podium wasn't backed up by the numbers.
Braun was ranked No. 1 in the state at 152 to begin his final season, but the senior dropped to fourth in the rankings due to a series of lost matches on the mat. Entering the Fargodome, Braun was seeded third behind Will Kleinknecht of Mandan (2) and Fettig (1).
"Being seeded third, the odds weren't really in my favor," Braun said. "Coming out on top just felt awesome."
Braun marched through the bracket with a 12-3 decision over Minot's Carter Peterson and followed that with a pin against Fargo North's Joshua Worral. In the semifinals, Braun faced Kleinknecht -- ranked No. 2 in the state -- and pulled out a 2-1 decision. Braun's prior highest finish at state came last season, falling to Minot's Trevon McClanahan in the third-place bout.
"The way Noah finished, it's a great example to these young kids," Eslick said. "Never give up on your dreams."
There was no giving up by any of the Blue Jays across the arena on the tournament's final day.
Aden Braun, Noah's younger brother, battled Bismarck's Christian Tanefeau in the 113-pound title match but came up short 11-2.
"He was very disappointed in that, he lost two years in a row to the same kid," Eslick said. "Aden is only a freshman and has some time. I think he's the type of kid who's going to be laser-focused and win three in a row the next three years. He's an amazing competitor."
Aden Braun posted a 56-12 record during his freshman campaign, tallying 33 pins, 11 technical falls and three major decisions. He cruised to the title match, defeating Willison's Micah Larson (11-0), Grand Forks Central's Tyson Gass (fall) and Bismarck Century's Neal Bohrer (10-4).
Aden's dream of topping the podium didn't come true, but he was happy in seeing his brother reach the pinnacle. The Braun duo had talked about competing as brothers in the individual state finals for the better part of a decade.
"It was definitely emotional when (Noah) went out there and clutched up and took the dub," Aden said. "It was definitely quite the experience, I am so happy for him right now."
Saturday might have been the elder Braun's last time on the mat for JHS, but he said he's looking forward to watching his little brother and the rest of the Jays flock toward future success.
"I am hoping (Aden) and the rest of the younger guys take over and become good leaders of this team," Braun said. "I hope (Aden) just pushes them more, makes them more determined for the future, makes them work harder because high school -- it flies by."
The Blue Jays came away with nine state-placers all told -- the most ever for the program -- and placed fourth in the Class A wrestling team standings with 136 points, behind Bismarck (250), Minot (151) and Bismarck Century (150.5). Eslick was named the Class A wrestling coach of the year.
Class A Wrestling State Individual Tournament
1. Bismarck 250, 2. Minot 151, 3. Bismarck Century 150.5, 4. Jamestown 136, 5. Valley City 117, 6. Devils Lake 114, 7. Dickinson 111, 8. Fargo Davies 85, 9. Bismarck St. Mary’s 84.5, 10. Grand Forks Central 76, 11. West Fargo 70, T12. Bismarck Legacy 51.5, T12. Fargo South 51.5, 14. West Fargo Sheyenne 50.5, 15. Mandan 47.5, 16. Fargo North 43, 17. Watford City 37, 18. Turtle Mountain 32, 19. Grand Forks Red River 23, 20. Williston 22, 21. Wahpeton 19.
Blue Jay individual results
Fifth-place match: 106 - Pete Rasmussen, J, dec. Noah Savageau, 4-0.
First-place match: 113 - Christian Tanefeu, BIS, maj. dec. Aden Braun, 11-2.
Seventh-place match: 120 - Talor Huebner, J, dec. Bennett Rogelstad, 6-5.
Third-place match: 126 - Joel Bowman, J, maj. dec. Tyler Porter, 9-1.
Third-place match: 138 - Colton Mewes, J, TB. Preston Fettig, 5-1.
Seventh-place match: 145 - Jackson Walters, J, dec. Mathew Scheer, 10-3.
First-place match: 152 - Noah Braun, J, dec. Brock Fettig, 8-3.
Third-place match: 170 - Parker Vilandre, DL, pinned Johnny Browning, 0:41.
Seventh-place match: 182 - Jonathan Redfearn, VC, M forfeit Coty Huebner.