It was a good way to kick off a busy weekend for the Jamestown High School wrestling team.

The Jays managed to pull out their first conference win topping Bismarck St. Mary's 33-32 Thursday night at Jerry Meyer Arena. With the win, the Jays now sit at 1-3 in the conference standings and are 1-4 overall. The Saints dropped to 4-3 in the WDA and 4-5 overall.

The dual was the first of the weekend for the Blue Jays. The team is slated to travel to Minot tomorrow, Williston for a triangular Saturday at 1 p.m. and Watford City Saturday at 5 p.m.

Everything was all tied up at 32-32 after all 14 weight classes had finished wrestling and Jamestown coach Larry Eslick went to the scorers' table. The Jays won 3-2 on the fifth criteria: more pins and forfeits.

Jamestown's Joel Bowman, left, works at throwing Isaac Felkle of St. Mary's to the mat Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, during a West Region wrestling meet in Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun
Jamestown's Joel Bowman, left, works at throwing Isaac Felkle of St. Mary's to the mat Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, during a West Region wrestling meet in Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

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"We needed a confidence booster," Eslick said. "We were so close and lost in a heartbreaker last week to Dickinson. The kids just wanted to quit wrestling with so much pressure. I just told them before the dual to wrestle loose and relaxed and have fun."

That's exactly what Damien Krebs did.

Krebs came up huge for the Blue Jays in the heavyweight division. The Blue Jay senior went after St. Mary's Jack Weikum early on in set No. 1, keeping the pressure high. With a few strategic moves, Krebs forced the fall with just a couple of minutes off the clock. The pin catapulted the Jays ahead 32-29.

"Going into that match I was nervous and I knew I needed to do something big for my team," Krebs said. "As soon as I tied up, my nerves disappeared and I knew what I had to do to get the win for my team.

"I wanted to see what my opponent would do first. I waited 'til I felt a shift in his balance and then made my move."

Eslick said Krebs' pin shifted the momentum heading into the final match of the night. Joryn Richter of St. Mary's ended up topping Lucas Schlepuetz in a 6-2 decision in overtime to tie the dual.

Thankfully the Jays wrestled tough enough to get the win despite a few tough losses early on.

The Saints forfeited a few weight classes that ended up giving the Jays a 12-0 lead. The Blue Jays also dished out with some big wins at 160 and 170.

Colton Mewes defended his No. 1 WDA ranking at 160 pounds with an 8-0 major decision over Kaden Renner. Mewes' victory tied the dual at 19 apiece. Jackson Walters followed suit, helping the Jays take a 23-19 lead with an 11-1 win over St. Mary's Jaxyn Richter.

Jamestown's Colton Mewes, top, works over Matt Scheer of St. Mary's Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun
Jamestown's Colton Mewes, top, works over Matt Scheer of St. Mary's Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Grady Anderson won the 120-pound class with an 11-7 decision over Colin Steidler, and Preston Gall outlasted Luke Legenfelder for four more points.

"It was a team effort to pull this one out," Eslick said. "But even so we had a couple of tough losses in that dual."

Eslick said the team knew that 132-pounder Aden Braun and 136-pounder Joel Bowman would be facing tough opponents. Braun squared off against the West's top 132-pounder in Reece Barnhardt. Barnhardt defeated Bowman in the 126-weight class last February at the state tournament

It was a swinging and slinging match in the first two-minute frame with Braun attacking early and Barnhardt spinning out of the sophomore's near pins. The two wrestled to the edge of the mat more than once and were forced to face-off again in the center circle.

Things were looking up in the second frame for the Jays when Braun grabbed Barnhardt's leg from underneath in an attempt to get a takedown. The Blue Jay sophomore was unable to hold on and after a few spinning dives, the two returned to the center circle.

Set three saw a number of aggressive attacks from Barnhardt. The St. Mary's senior shot his arms out and managed to flip Braun onto his back. Braun somehow managed to keep his shoulders off the ground until time expired. Barnhardt ending up winning the match in a 20-4 major decision.

Bowman lost to Isaac Felchle in an 11-5 decision at 138-pounds.

"It was a huge dual," Krebs said. "This win will snowball effect its way into our other duals this coming weekend by giving up a push we need to succeed. This victory will show no matter what happens, you always fight for bonus points."

Jamestown 33, Bismarck St. Mary's 32

106: Joryn Richter (SM) over Lucas Schlepuetz (SV-1 6-2)

113: Pete Rasmussen (JHS) over OPEN (FOR)

120: Sam Schlepuetz (JHS) over OPEN (FOR)

126: Grady Anderson (JHS) over Colin Steidler (SM) (Dec 11-7)

132: Reece Barnhardt (SM) over Aden Braun (TF 20-4)

138: Isaac Felchle (SM) over Joel Bowman (Dec 11-5)

145: William Lengenfelder (SM) over Eric Chea (Fall 4:22)

152: James Richter (SM) over Josiah Reimers (TF 22-6)

160: Colton Mewes (JHS) over Kaden Renner (MD 8-0)

170: Jackson Walters (JHS) over Jaxyn Richter (MD 11-1)

182: Preston Gall (JHS) over Luke Lengenfelder (Dec 7-4)

195: Trent Radenz (SM) over Dalton Darby (Fall 4:44)

220: Nick Wndsor (SM) over Austin Kessler (MD 9-1)

285: Damien Krebs (JHS) over Jack Weikum (1:46)