Look no further than Jamestown, North Dakota if you are wondering what two of North Dakota’s five college programs have to offer entering the 2017-18 wrestling season. The 2017 Jimmie Open will be the first official tournament action of the season for both the host University of Jamestown Jimmies and University of Mary Marauders. Wrestlers with North Dakota roots will also compete for Northern State (SD).
The University of Jamestown, who currently sit just outside of the NAIA top 20 to start the season (receiving votes), is set to host two duals the Friday night before the Open at the Larson center versus NAIA foes Midland and Warner Pacific. The Jimmies boast two wrestlers ranked in the preseason NAIA individual polls including 125 Jesse Barajas and 174 Mike Zupan. Zupan, a native of Moorhead Minnesota, was an NAIA All American last season and is currently ranked fourth in the country. Midland (Freemont, NE) is ranked 14th in the preseason NAIA rankings and should provide a strong test out the gate as they have seven wrestlers ranked in the NAIA individual polls. Like the Jimmies, Warner Pacific is also receiving votes in the preseason team rankings and boasts two wrestlers in the top ten of the individual rankings.
Saturday’s Open tournament will feature wrestlers from 12 different teams (as of 1:30 Friday) including the University of Mary, Concordia (Moorhead), and Northern State. Mary is sending nearly their entire roster, with only a few holding out with weight descent problems ahead of their first dual with Minot State next Wednesday. Though the Maruaders don’t currently have wrestlers ranked in the Division II preseason top 12, 133 Tate Barnhardt and 149 Rudy Guillen are among the wrestlers to watch this weekend.
Former North State champions Billy Holtan (157) and Paxton Mewes (165) are entered into the tournament for Northern, and true freshman state champion from Bismarck Century Mason Schulz of MSU Moorhead will make his college debut wrestling unattached at 141.