Location: Watford City
Team Race: The WDA tournament is always more fun when someone has a legit chance of knocking off the Bismarck Demons, but this ain’t the year. This team has the potential to go down as one of the great Demon teams of all time. The race for second should be interesting, with the usual suspects jockeying for position in Bismarck Century, Minot, and Dickinson. Jamestown also has a really good chance of jumping that group and finishing runner-up.
Toughest weight class: 138/152
The nice thing about the WDA is that there is a lot to choose from, but 138 and 152 have WDA wrestlers ranked first through sixth so for my money I like either of those. With likely Class A Mr. Wrestler Drew Steidler of St. Mary’s Central slotted in at 145, 138 and 152 end up loaded with talent, and the final result should be fantastic for the WDA tournament. 138 has a clear favorite in two-time Bismarck Century finalist Clay Radenz, but from there anyone second through sixth could end up in the finals depending on how the seeds shake out. 152 is a little more exciting because there isn’t really a clear favorite to be had. Troy Berg of Dickinson made the late season bump to 152 and promptly beat both Brock Fettig of Bismarck and Will Kleinknecht of Mandan on the same day. That means Berg will be the top seed Saturday when things get rolling. Fettig, Kleinknecht, and Jamestown’s Noah Braun are all right there in the same ballpark, and a Region title for one of them could lock up the state’s top seed given Berg’s lack of matches at 152.
113: #1 Christian Tanefeu of Bismarck has never lost to Jamestown’s Aden Braun, but it really doesn’t feel that way given how wildly intense each of their matches has been. In last year’s 106 pound state title Tanefeu scored an overtime takedown to seal a 5-3 victory and his first state title. Tanefeu has 1-0 and 8-2 victories this season, so regardless of the result he will be the top seed next week at state. Either way, expect the fur to fly Saturday.
132: Minot state champion Kelby Armstrong should be the top seed here, with Bismarck’s Kaden Renner and Century’s Devin Schulz the two and three seeds. Armstrong and Renner are 1-1, while Renner holds a 2-1 advantage on Schulz. Armstrong and Schulz have yet to meet this season. If I had to pick the semifinal I’m most excited for, Renner-Schulz would probably be it. The Demon-Patriot element, coupled with the fact that in two of these matches both wrestlers scored ten or more points, should make for great entertainment. The stakes are high as well, as a region title from Armstrong would lock him into the top seed at state. A Renner win could make for a wild state seeding meeting,
145: St. Mary’s Central’s Drew Steidler is a four-time state finalist, state champion, and on a very short list of the best Saint wrestlers ever. A hand injury kept Steidler out the majority of his senior season, which was a major loss for North Dakota wrestling fans and probably kept Steidler’s hype from reaching the level it should be. Steidler is only 7-0 on the season, but his 11-1 major decision up a weight class over #2 ranked Brock Fettig of Bismarck should give wrestling fans an idea as to where Steidler stands.
195: In their lone match up of the season, Minot’s #1 Jacob Carmichael defeated Bismarck’s Cullen Glatt 7-5. Expect a tight one for the title at 195.
What did we miss? What are you looking most forward to this weekend in Watford Cirty