Demons Edge Minot on the Strength of Four State Champions

27972214_2016247155285521_803449765338203892_n.jpgEntering the final session of the North Dakota Class A Individual State Tournament, Bismarck held a razor thin 199-197 lead on second place Minot.  Minot held the all-important edge of six individual finalists to five, but Bismarck boasted four favorites to Minot’s two. Bismarck High started the finals strong with two head to head 1-0 victories over Minot opponents.  At 170 Parker Wahl finished his Demon career off with a title by defeating Minot’s Creighton Rudolph, and Chase Dockter did the same to Hunter Swartwout at 220.  Minot’s Eli Huff took the mat looking to close the newly created team score gap at 285 against Davies top seed Andre Baguma, but fell by 4-3 overtime decision.  Minot kept their title hopes alive with a championship from Kelby Armstron at 106.  Armstrong started fast, going up 4-1 in the first period before holding on for a 5-4 decision over South Jacob Thomas.  The door inched close to shut for the Magi at 120 when Corey Hooker, who last night scored the upset of the tournament with a pin over Bismarck’s Laken Boese, lost to Jamestown’s Ethan Bowman 5-2.  Now needing a win to clinch the team title, Bismarck’s Ryan Ripplinger scored early and often in a 10-2 victory over St, Mary’s Central’s Drew Steidler.  The title makes it three for the Bismarck junior, while Steidler has now finished runner-up in three consecutive years.  Ripplinger’s championship gave Bismarck an insurmountable lead, but that didn’t stop Minot’s Brody Armstrong from winning his third title by 5-0 decision over Bismarck’s Adam DeBoer.  Armstrong is headed to the Naval Academy next year.  With the title in hand, the pressure was off for Bismarck undefeated senior Devin Steidler. Steidler gave up a takedown to Gavin LeNoue of Wahpeton and trailed 2-0 at the end of the firs period before riding LeNoue out in the second and scoring a reversal and back points for a 5-2 victory.  Steidler is headed to wrestle at Mary next year.

Valley City finished in third place for the first time in school history, and had a state champion to boot.  Logan Erlandsson continued his big move mania with a 48 second pin in the finals over Turtle Mountain’s Trevis LaRocque.  Valley City also lost two finals matches.  At 195, Legacy’s Matt Kaylor scored its school’s first state championship with a dominating 12-0 decision over Jake Tangen.  In the final match of the afternoon, Jared Franek pinned Hi-Liner David Peterson in 1:34.  Franek walks away from North Dakota prep wrestling the all-time leader in wins and a four-time state champion.  He will wrestle for North Dakota State next season.

At 113 pounds, St. Mary’s Central’s Reece Barnhardt capped his freshman season with an 8-1 victory over Century’s Clay Radenz.  Barhardt was runner-up at 106 last season.

In the highlight match of the evening-the only battle of wrestlers with state titles-Turtle Mountain’s Dawson Zerr defeated West Fargo’s JJ Harms 5-4.  Harms looked in control early, but Zerr scored a reversal in the third period to take the one point lead and then rode Harms for the final minute plus of the match.

Mandan’s Isaac Berger won his second title for the fourth place Braves.  Berger defeated Davies’s Jaden Mairs by 11-0 major decision.

Team Scores
1 Bismarck High 216.0
2 Minot 205.0
3 Valley City 140.0
4 Mandan 133.5
5 West Fargo 127.0
6 Turtle Mountain 123.0
7 Dickinson 110.0
8 Bismarck Century 104.0
9 Bismarck Legacy 83.0
10 Fargo Davies 68.5
11 Bismarck St. Mary`s 64.5
12 Jamestown 59.0
13 Williston 50.0
14 Devils Lake 43.0
15 Grand Forks Central 41.0
16 Wahpeton 28.5
17 Fargo South 25.0
18 West Fargo Sheyenne 19.5
19 Fargo North 19.0
20 Grand Forks Red River 15.0
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