North Dakota Class B Individual Preview

TEAM RACE POINT TOTALS BASED ON SEED:

Teams are awarded points based on seeds for the tournament.  An unseeded wrestler gets zero points, a #1 seed gets the average number of points first place finishers received in 2015 (27).  The second place scoring average was 22, third 18, and so on down the line.  Credit to Dean Shearer for providing the average points scored for each placement position.

Points assigned to seed:  1: 27, 2: 22, 3: 18, 4: 14.5, 5: 13, 6: 9.5, 7: 8, 8: 6

  1. Lisbon:   136
  2. Hillsboro/CV: 119.5
  3. New Salem/Almont: 113.5
  4. Carrington:  103
  5. Hettinger/Scranton: 95
  6. Kindred 84.5
  7. Pembina County North: 82.5
  8. Des Lacs/Burlington: 82
  9. South Border: 80
  10. Napoleon: 70

Lisbon is the strong team favorite, but they aren’t unbeatable by any means.  Lisbon benefits from a lot of seeded wrestlers, obviously, but draws for unseeded wrestlers Avery Dick (132) and Tristin Howard (152) are favorable and could help pad their already 17 point projected lead.  The system does not factor in for teams with a ton of wrestlers but few seeds, so I expect that we will see Bowman County/Beach enter the top ten by Saturday.  They have twelve wrestlers entered, and though only five are seeded, four others could sneak onto he podium, giving the BC/B much more than their projection which was in the sixties.

New Salem and Hillsboro/CV are in nearly identical position, with high seeds but only nine wrestlers qualified, it will be difficult for either team to score much more than the projections show.  Can Hettinger/Scranton and Carrington close the gap with their two extra qualifiers?  It is certainly a possibility.

NDwrestle Class B Predictions:

  1.  Lisbon
  2. Hillsboro/CV
  3. Carrington
  4. New Salem/Almont
  5. Hettinger/Scranton

Weight Class Breakdowns:

106

Just when I thought this was a one-horse race, Lisbon seventh grader Boeden Greenley went and pushed undefeated favorite Carter Schmitz (Kindred) to the limit; a 3-1 sudden victory loss.  Greenley is seeded third behind Schmitz and the two seed, Luke Leshuk of Hillsboro/CV.  Leshuk has two wins over Greenley this season, one by 6-3 decision and one by 12-2 major decision, so Greenley will be the underdog in the semifinals.  Leshuk’s one chance at Schmitz this year ended with an 8-0 major decision loss.  Though Greenley does have a loss to Velva four seed Gunnar Mogen, he avenged it at East-West and I think the top three are in a tier of their own here.

Unseeded Wrestler to watch:  Wesley Harvey (Bishop Ryan)

113

113 has been wild all year long, so expect Fargo to bring more of the same.  Top seed New Salem/Almont state champion Clay Gerhardt has avenged his lone in-state loss of the season to Bishop Ryan’s Conner LeDoux.  He has run together a 29 match winning streak since his last loss at the Rumble on the Red.  LeDoux is 3-1 on the season with third seed Isaac Felchle of Harvey/Wells County, but Felchle got the last win 4-2 in overtime at Rugby.  The Harvey eighth grader has been a bit of a riddle this season, taking some unexpected losses but at time showing to be fully capable of winning a state title. Felchle fell apart a bit at the East-West, finishing in sixth place.  He then responded by beating Carrington’s Brecken Lura and Hillsboro/CV’s Kyle Alfson on his way to the Region 2 crown.  At East-West Felchle was etched by Lura 18-2.  Two weeks later he beat Lura 14-5.  Lura and Alfson are both also title contenders, so consider 113 one of the most talented groups in the state.

Unseeded Wrestler to watch:  Tucker Strand (Bowman County/Beach)

120

New Salem/Almont state champion Tayt Wolding has head to head wins over the second and third seeded wrestlers in the weight class, and looks primed to get back to the top of the podium after a disappointing third place finish last season.  At the bottom of the bracket are Alex Madrigal and Austin Thompson, who battled in the semifinals at this weight last season.  Madrigal won the match last year on a barn burner, but he has missed a lot of this season, whereas Thompson has wrestled a full schedule.  Expect that to be a big factor if those two again meet in the semis, as Thomson has a great gas tank and keeps going for six full minutes.  Will Madrigal be able to keep the pace?  Matt Anderson and Ethan Wonser are both talented wrestlers in what I see as a toss up 4-5 matchup, I’m just not sure either will be able to hang with Wolding Friday evening in a semifinal.  Trevor Hoggarth has also had a nice last few weeks and could potentially make some noise from the six seed.

Unseeded Wrestler to watch:  Trey Jacob (Linton-HMB)

126

Enjoy it while it lasts wrestling fans, because this will be the fifth year at the state tournament for the best Class B wrestler in history, with only one more to go.  It seems like just yesterday that an undersized seventh grade seven seed was wowing the crowd on his way to the state semifinals, where he nearly upended the state champion.  The present is much less exciting.  I can’t remember the last time Kyle Burwick wrestled a competitive match in Class B ND (he pinned his way to the title as a freshman), but I can’t predict it to happen this year as much as I think Rugby’s Riley Zachmeier and Linton-HMB’s Chandler Nagel are as talented as many of the kids that will get crowned champions this weekend.  Speaking of Zachmeier and Nagel, it is the possible semifinal that I am most looking forward to. The two have yet to meet this season, and save a loss each to Burwick and Tayt Wolding, haven’t been beaten in-state.  Zachmeier would do well not to look to far forward though, as Central Cass’s Andrew Volk has quietly been awesome this season, and only fell to Zachmeier 3-2 at Rugby.

Unseeded Wrestler to watch:  Braetyn Yanish (Velva)

132

If 126 has the best top three in the state, then 132 has the best top six.  Five seed Zach Broadwell (Carrington) is a defending state finalist, #1 Cale Schalesky of Hettinger-Scranton has two titles to his name, and #2 Chauncey Dittus of New Salem/Almont has a title of his own. Throw in state finalists Coy Awender (Oakes) and Kersey Harris (Bishop Ryan) at #4 and #6, and perennial placer Darin Vangorkom of South Border at #3, and you get the most anticipated quarterfinals of the tournament.  How will it all shake out? Your guess is as good as mine.  What I have learned over the last four years though, is that you can never bet against Schalesky in big matches; especially at the state tournament.  Schaleskly has currently beaten Dittus, who in December many Class B talking heads told me was going to tear through the 132 pound weight class, on three consecutive Saturdays.  Schalesky has earned the one seed, but with Broadwell and Awender slotted into the 4-5 quarterfinal, he gets no favors.  Schalesky has yet to face Braodwell, but defeated Awender by 16-9 decision in the East-West semifinals.  Vangorkom and Kersey Harris, the likely 3-6 quarterfinal, have yet to wrestle this season.  Dittus has a victory by fall over Vangorkom, but has yet to wrestle Harris.  Hold on to your hats because 132 should be wild.

Unseeded Wrestler to watch:  Avery Dick (Lisbon)

138

This weight seeded out pretty easily at the top, as Pembina County North’s Tanner Urlaub, who is 30-0 on the season, owns a 10-5 victory over #2 Josh Irwin from back in December.  Irwin has a 5-2 decision over Rugby three seed Joey Berg.  Pay close attention to the 4-5 quarterfinal between Easton Ogren (Kindred) and Kaiden Bredahl (DLB).  Ogren has been strong all year long, losing in-state only twice this season at 138 pounds.  Bredahl first put his stamp on the weight class with a run to the East-West finals a few weeks ago.  He is 1-2 against in-region rival Joey Berg, and 0-1 against Irwin and Urlaub, but that doesn’t mean anyone wants to wrestle him.  At the Rolla tournament January 20, Bredahl fell to Urlaub by 6-4 decision; Urlaub’s closestmatch of the year.  If someone is going to beat the PCN titan, Bredahl could be the guy.  Also look out for Hunter Schwab of Lisbon in the seven slot.  At 27-7 and wrestling in the best room in the state, Schwab could be prime for a run well past his seven seed if Lisbon get on a roll.

Unseeded Wrestler to watch:  Ryan Holzer (Linton-HMB)

145

#1 seed Jordan Sours of Lisbon has been as consistent as any Class B wrestler in the state this year.  He is 28-5, and turned my head for the first time at Valley City when he nearly upended Bismarck High undefeated senior Devin Steidler.  Since then, Sours took a loss at region duals to Jake Herr of South Border and won the Region 1 title by the skin of his teeth 7-6 over Taydon Butcher of Kindred.  Butcher and Herr are at the bottom of the bracket in the #2 and #3 seeds.  The two have met twice this year, with Butcher winning both in convincing fashion.  In the 4-5 quarterfinal matchup, Carrington’s Austin Hendrickson will do battle with Walter Winkler of Des Lacs/Burlington.  Hendrickson has the state tournament experience to make life difficult for Sours, but Sours own the 5-1 victory this season.  Jacob Bitz of Napoleon is as interesting a seven seed as there is int he tournament.  Bitz is short on matches after an injury cut into the first half of his season, but is capable of a big weekend if healthy.

Unseeded Wrestler to watch:  Cody Rudolph (Stanley/Powers Lake)

152

Garrett Jangula is 36-0.  He added his second Bismarck Rotary title this year and as a tenth grader at Napoleon, will compete for his second state title this weekend.  Jangula’s closest bout this season on the Class B side of things came in an 8-4 win over South Border’s Mark Jochim.  That says more about Joachim as a seven seed than it doest anyone’s chance of beating Jangula.  The one thing standing between Jangula and a second title is health.  He was injured in a dual against South Border and was forced out of the East-West tournament, though it hasn’t affected his ability to win up to this point.  Velma’s John Thomas made the move to 152 last weekend and after winning Region 3, is the second seed.  His road to the finals won’t be easy, as the aforementioned Jochim, as well as Chase Gross of Central Cass, have been strong all year long and could be primed for an upset.

Unseeded Wrestler to watch:  Rylee Thomson (MPCG)

160

160 boasts a few serious title contenders, each with a wins over the other.  In the end. Napoleon’s Nathan Weigel is the deserving one seed after winning East-West and defeating state finalist Tyler Erickson of Beulah-Hazen and Colton Miller of Des Lacs/Burlington along the way.  Miller is the two-seed, and he and Weigel are 1-1 on the season.  Also 1-1 are Miller and three seed Clayton Mattern of Bowman County/Beach.  BC/B will need a strong performance from Mattern to help their team chances, and he is certainly capable of bringing home the title.  Will Tyler Erickson be able to replicate the magic he created last season with two upsets on the way to the state finals?  If he is going to make it happen this year, it would be just as magical. Erickson is a combined 0-5 vs the top three wrestlers in the state this season.  Grant Skager is not to be overlooked in the seven slot.  The Hillsboro/CV senior hasn’t wrestled any of the guys int he top three, but fell to PCN #5 seed Triston Sott 10-2 in the Region 2 finals.

Unseeded Wrestler to watch:  Jeremiah Sullivan (Central Cass)

170

170 would appear to be Mark Hastings weight class to lose.  The Hillsboro/CV junior is back and looking for a title after falling in the semifinals from the two seed at 170 last year and finishing third. Hastings is 45-3 on the season, with all three losses coming to Minnesota opponents at the Rumble on the Red.  Isaac Anderson of Hettinger/Scranton is capable of giving Hastings a run if they meet in the finals, though Hastings is 2-0 this season with 10-6 and 12-6 decisions.  Hastings and Anderson have been 1 and 2 all season long, so it would be a significant upset for either to not make the finals.  Anderson defeated Des Lacs/Burlington #3 seed Coy Spooner 10-5 at East-West.

Unseeded Wrestler to watch:  Bridger Mathern (EEK)

182

The one constant this year for Carrington has been Kaden Wolsky at 182 pounds.  Wolsky has handled everyone Class B has thrown at him this year, and nothing has been close.  Austin Urlaub, arguably the second best wrestler at the weight this year, was injured until just a few weeks ago and for that reason sits in the six seed.   Urlaub, a senior form Pembina County North, has taken two losses to Wolsky since returning, but has won each of his other eleven bouts.  If fully healthy, Urlaub should advance to the finals.  If not, Thomas Leintz at three and Gavin Reinke at four, who have a full season body of work behind them, will cause Urlaub problems.  Reinke’s lone loss since dropping to 182 came to Wolsky by 13-8 decision.

195

Connor Dennis of Watford City and Carter Brown of Pembina County North appear on a collision course for the finals.  The two have not met this season, but no Class B wrestler has been within a major decision of either this season.  Brown has the one seed because of his 11-3 major decision victory over Turtle Mountain’s Ronald Wilkie.  Wilkie defeated Dennis 10-7 in a dual match right after Christmas.  Both Dennis and Carter Brown are pinners, and I don’t know that the disparity in matches with Wilkie means much for their potential matchup.  Dennis did defeat Brown in the 182 pounds 3rd place match at state last year.  Because they two haven’t met this season, this is one that all North Datotans should be excited for.  Jared Palluck of Kindred and Wyatt Nitschke of EEK are both cut from the same cloth as Dennis and Brown, they are just a bit less polished as wrestlers.  All four of the aforementioned wrestlers are seniors, so expect each guy to fight as if its their last.

Unseeded Wrestler to watch:  Collin Mertz (Harvey/Wells County)

220

Jordan Urbach is a big favorite in this tournament as is Kyle Burwick.  There, I said it.  Could he be beaten?  Sure, but don’t expect it.  Urbach is undefeated with 31 falls in 38 bouts.  Most impressively, he pinned Bismarck High state tournament #1 seed Chase Dockter in Valley City at the end of December.  Hillsboro/CV’s Jake Connelly and New Town’s Bronson Flynn have both had fantastic seasons, but it would take a Herculean effort to bring dow Urbach.  Urbach has wrestled the two and three seeds four total times, and has four recorded falls. Connelly and Flynn haven’t met this season, and I expect both to pin their way to the semis.  What will happen from there is only a guess. Flynn hasn’t lost to anyone but Ubach since December, and Connelly’s only losses outside of Urbach are to Minnesotans.  Bailey Lawson, who had a great tournament as an unseeded and unknown last year for Harvey/Wells County, is seeded fourth.  He has a win over Flynn, but is in the unenviable position of being on the top side with Urbach.

Unseeded Wrestler to watch:  Jeremiah Jesperson (Velva)

285

A few timely headlocks will blow this weight class wide open, and I fully expect the bracket to explode starting round one.  I have never seen a bracket at the state tournament where eleven guys could be state finalists, but that is what we have with Class B 285.  The most consistent wrestler this season has been DJ Schneibel of Rugby, and he is deserving of the top seed.  Schneibel also has losses, including three to #5 seed Jackson Faller of Watford City.  It is conceivable that Faller could advance to the semifinals as the fifth seeded wrestler, and have a 3-1 record over his #1 seeded opponent. It is also conceivable that Faller could fall in the first round to unseeded Keegan Henjum of Bishop Ryan, who Faller is 0-1 against on the season.  WILD. Also capable of making the finals on the top side are four seed Seth Owens of Hillsboro/CV, eight seed Braden Lafferty of Pembina County North, and unseeded Andrew Miller of Napoleon.  The bottom offers no more clarity.  My favorite unseeded wrestler in the entire tournament, Northern Lights junior Max Defender, has been working his way into wrestling shape after missing 3/4 of the season due to injury. Defender has lost close decisions to the Schneibel (7-5), #2 seed Riley Molter (3-2), and #7 Kutter Blumhagen (3-1 SV).  Central Cass’s sixth seed Cade Merrigan drew Defender right out the gate, so expect a barn burner.  Merrigan is actually in the same situation as Defender, ultra-talented but light on matches.  The safe wager on the bottom half is a semifinal between Lisbon’s #3 Ben Shearer and #2 Molter of South Border, but your bet best is not to bet on this weight class.

Unseeded Wrestler to watch:  Max Defender (Northern Lights)

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