*For weight class breakdowns, listen to the podcast 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
- Dickinson 189.5
- Bismarck: 187
- Century: 119
- Jamestown: 118.5
- Grand Forks Central: 108
- Mandan: 107
The points above dictate a two team race for the state title, with four team neck and neck competing for three spots in the top five. Dickinson and Bismarck will be an absolute battle, and barring one team falling apart or dramatically over performing, the Class A battle for the state individual championship should come down to the Saturday morning wrestleback matches. Bismarck has two sure things (or as close to sure things as possible), in one seed Ryan Ripplinger and Chase Dockter. Those two, along with Christian Tanefeu, have not been beaten by North Dakota competition this season and its unlikely Ripplinger and Dockter will do anything other than score bonus points all the way through the tournament. Christian Tanefue’s only loss in North Dakota came last Saturday when he was called for slamming Jamestown’s Aden Braun. Braun is likely the one guy that can upset Tanefeu, and Jamestown Head Coach Larry Eslick reports via Facebook that Braun should be good to go this weekend after the injury scare. Bismarck is also pretty well locked and actually has the upside for more at 120, 126, 132, and 152. I don’t anticipate that Brock Fettig, Laken Boese, or Brandt Kringlie will finish much lower than their third, and all could go a place higher. Fettig fell to #2 Brendan Johnson of Dickinson 1-0 in the WDA semifinals. If you are looking for a match between the two contenders with a razor-thin margin for error that could dictate you team champion, Fettig/Johnson is it. Though neither has a good chance to beat the #1 seed Reece Barnhardt of SMCHS, the four point difference between second and third place at 120 will be huge. Laken Boese is seeded second at 126, and though he has fallen to Clay Radenz three times this season, has a state title to his name and could get it done. The one potential road block is Jamestown state champion Ethan Bowman, who has yet to meet Boese and has the potential to make things difficult for BHS. Kringle is in the same situation as Boese at 152. His floor is likely at third where he is seeded, but he beat second seed Raif Horswill 6-1 at the WDA tournament and fell to top seed Ethan Fleck of Mandan 3-1 in the WDA final. Kringlie could absolutely get Bismarck High nine more points. Seeded fifth at 132, Preston Fettig’s floor is sixth, but he could finish as high as third with a good tournament. Another opportunity to grab more points for the Demons. Connor McGregor is seeded fifth at 182, but the weight is a bit of a crapshoot and finishing lower than seed is possible. The bracket is set up perfectly for McGregor to place and score two pins in doing so. If Bismarck wins, they will have to overcome the fact that they did not qualify anyone at 170 and 220. 145 Jaden Schmidt is the real wildcard for me. Schmidt wrestled at 132 all season long and bumped all the way to 145 for individual regionals. I assume Schmidt will weigh in at 138 so Bismarck can interchange he and Ryan Ripplinger in the dual portion of the tournament. That means placing while unseeded and giving up seven or more pounds. The bracket drew up perfectly for this to happen, but Schmidt still has to do it Thursday and Friday afternoon.
For Dickinson, there is a little less guaranteed than the Demons based on seeds, but a lot more depth. Dickinson’s lone top seed is Tate Nordby, and 160 is the deepest weight class in the tournament. Nordby will have tight matches throughout this tournament starting in the quarterfinals. Dickinson’s four two seeds; Brendan Johnson (120), Jaron Haugen (132), Troy Berg (138), and Tanner Jarrett (182) are also vulnerable. I mentioned the Johnson/Fettig dynamic in the Bismarck part of this preview. Jaron Haugen has been the second best 132 in the state since after the Bismarck Rotary, but Dalton McKenzie (Williston) and Devin Schulz (Century) are capable in the 3/6 quarter of the bracket. Parker Larson if Valley City is a pretty strong roadblock for Troy Berg on the way to the finals, especially given Berg’s health, He looked solid at WDA, but three days of individual matches, plus the dual tournament, will take its toll. It seems likely to me that Dickinson will avoid using Berg in duals until the finals to keep him rested. At 182, Tanner Jarret has two wins over his likely semifinal opponent Jacob Carmichael of Minot, but they are via 3-1 and 6-2 (overtime) decision. I think its possible given the margins for error we see one of those Dickinson 2’s go down before the finals. Houston Crimmins and Henry Nelson are very important for the Midgets at 106 and 113 as well. Both fall into the second tier of wrestlers at their weight that will have a difficult time making the finals, and could finish anywhere from 4-8. Every backside match will count. My seeded upside guys for Dickinson are 145 #5 Matthew Meschke and 152 Dexter Carpenter. Meschke is 1-1 with his quarterfinal opponent Mattew Rader of Century, and hasn’t seen Noah Braun yet this year. Meschke isn’t likely to finish lower than fifth, and he could win it. Carpenter could jump a few spots from his seventh seed. Caleb Usher is also in a nice spot from the five seed at 170, and Kameron Clark should be good for his seed or higher at 220.
Though Dickinson does have more projected points, it is still going to be tough for them to unseat the Demons. And for the rest of the field, Grand Forks Central has a chance to finish third, but there are so many variables and the brackets were not kind to them in many spots. For me, Mandan and Century pose the most upsides for their seeds. With Century, Devin Schulz (132) and Matthew Rader (145), could both finish significantly higher than their seeds. Mandan wrestlers Will Kleinknecht and Kolten Reisenauer are both capable of state title runs from the three and four seeds, Both the Patriots and Braves also boast title favorites in Clay Radenz (126) and Jacob Boehm (220). Jamestown is going to be right there in the mix as well, but their seeds will be tougher to surpass than those of the Patriots and Braves.
NDwrestle Class A Predictions: