Weight Class Contender Notes
106: #1 LJ Araujo of Bismarck defeated #2 Koye Grebel of Valley City in overtime 4-2 at the Valley City tournament back in December. This was Araujo’s first varsity action of the year, and he seems to have improved dramatically since then. Araujo was Rotary champion via 6-2 decision over Jack Schoenhard of Aberdeen Central. Schoenhard defeated Grebel 11-2 in the semifinals at the same tournament. Grebel may still be a bit small for the weight class, so that could be a factor here. Either way, Araujo and Grebel are without question future North Dakota kings. Grebel holds two wins-a pin and a 4-2 decision- over #3 seed Jacob Mortensen.
Unseeded Wrestler To Watch: Evan Fleck (Mandan)
113: Bismarck’s Christian Tanefeu continues to hold a tight advantage over Jamestown’s Aden Braun, with the rest of the field solidly in the rear view. Tanefeu’s 4-2 WDA finals victory is a microcosm of the Braun/Tanefeu saga going back two years. Tight matches in which Tanefeu comes out on the winning end. Will that change this weekend?
Unseeded Wrestler To Watch: Wade Isom (Williston)
120: Wilfried Tanefeu’s lone loss on the season came to Byron’s (MN) Maxwell Peterson in the Rumble finals. Tanefeu holds two major decision wins over second ranked Kaden DeCoteau of Century, with no one in the state coming closer. DeCoteau’s teammate Hayden Johnsrud grabbed the #2 seed with a win over DeCoteau in the WDA semifinals. With Patriots seeded second and third, expect an all-Bismarck final.
Unseeded Wrestler To Watch: Stephen Schulze (Minot)
126: Reece Barnhardt is in the same boat as Tanefeu, having lost only in the Rumble finals this season and dominated all area competition. Though the two-time state champion from St. Mary’s hasn’t wrestled Devils Lake #2 Brant Fisk, Barnhardt has beaten Darien Malone (Rapid City Stevens) and Jordan Darby (Sidney), two wrestlers Fisk has lost to. Fisk defeated #3 Dany Monatukwa 8-1 earlier this year.
Unseeded Wrestler To Watch: Clayton Nissko (Davies)
132: This is the weight class I am most excited for at the state tournament. State champion Kelby Armstrong is seeded third. The top seed in Fargo South’s Jacob Thomas. Kaden Renner of Bismarck and Devin Schulz of Century can absolutely win this thing too. All eyes on the A side for these evenly matched semifinals.
Unseeded Wrestler To Watch: Sam Shomento (Devils Lake)
138: Radenz’s 12-8 victory over Minot’s Trevon McClaanahan was one of the most impressive things I saw on the Class A side last weekend. No doubt McClaanahan will be ready for a potential rematch this weekend, but Radenz is in position to finally break through and win a title after finishing second each of the last two seasons. This is a very deep weight, and seeding was thrown loopy when Kaleb Porter came up from 132 and won the EDC tournament. Look for some upsets in the quarterfinals and a fantastic quarters match between #5 Brock Fettig and #4 Colton Mewes.
145: Just when everyone thought Troy Berg of Dickinson was headed up to 152, he throws a curve ball and stays at 145. Berg dropped a 5-0 decision to WDA senior athlete of the year Drew Steidler of St. Mary’s Central. It was Steidler’s closest match of the year, but he still maintained control throughout and has to be seen as the heavy favorite. Steidler’s career puts him among the best Saints ever. Already a four-time finalist and one-time champ, Steidler will join brother Devin at the University of Mary in the fall.
Unseeded Wrestler To Watch: Matthew Scheer (St. Mary’s Central)
152: Bismarck’s Brock Fetting put himself in great position for a title based on his season body of work culminating in a WDA title Saturday. With a three wrestler tier at the top of the weight, Fettig’s #1 seed means Mandan state finalist Will Kleinknecht and Jamestown’s Noah Brown will have to wrestle one another in the state semifinals.
Unseeded Wrestler To Watch: Mike Erickson (Grand Forks Central)
160: Valley City’s Parker Larson is the top seed, and in a weight that again has three contenders at the top, it means Larson has a clear path to the state finals. Minot’s #2 Chase Burke defeated Bismarck state champion Brandt Kringlie 5-2 in the WDA final. Kringlie’s return from injury is a big story line for this tournament. Another week in the room will mean more improvement, but will it be enough for Kringlie to repeat? For a gauge on Kringlie, watch his quarterfinal against Turtle Mountain’s #6 Clay LaRocque. Kringlie won that matchup by one point at WDA.
Unseeded Wrestler To Watch: Dany Tanefeu (Bismarck Century)
170: I am looking forward to a potential finals matchup of #1 Gage Roaldson of Bismarck and Connor Chloupek of Davies. The results dictate Roaldson is a big favorite, but Chloupek is a Rumble place winner and has a strong resume. Joel McIntosh of West Fargo pushed Chloupek in a 0-1 loss in the EDC final, so Chloupek’s spot in the finals is no guarantee. For comparison , Roaldson has two pins and an 8-3 decision over McIntosh this year.
Unseeded Wrestler To Watch: James Barnhardt (Mandan)
182: Huus is right up there with Barnhardt and Wilfried Tanefeu as the biggest favorites in the A tournament. His pin and major decision over #2 Colby Rance of Devils Lake tell the tale of someone that is going to be near impossible to in Fargo. Rance and #3 Micaiah Peterson of Red River have wrestled twice this season, with Rance coming out on top both times.
Unseeded Wrestler To Watch: Zachary Hughbanks (Minot)
195: With the move up of Dickinson’s Tanner Jarrett, this weight class became very entertaining. Jarrett knocked of #1 Jacob Carmichael of Minot via overtime fall in the WDA finals, and reaps the reward of the state’s top seed as a result. With Shane Kennedy of Sheyenne going down in the EDC finals to Valley City’s Jonah Schuldheisz (who also moved up from 182 late in the year), this weight has become a very interesting. Jarrett defeated Schuldheisz 12-0 in a match at 182 earlier this season.
Unseeded Wrestler To Watch: Henrik Jacobsen (Legacy)
220: Top seed Truman Werremeyer of Davies pinned #2 Preston Jones in the first period of a dual back on January 24. As good as Werremeyer has been this year, I’m not sure that single results dictates the difference between these two wrestlers. Werremeyer has beaten West Fargo’s Ben Anderson three times, but the region final was a 3-1 decision. Jones pinned Anderson in their only match up this season. Dickinson’s Malikai Rivera will also be a factor here from the #4 seed.
285: Any one of seven wrestlers could win 285 this season, so for me it really comes down to match ups and where individuals are on the bracket. In spite of his EDC semifinal loss, Brody DeFoe of Grand Forks Central is still the top seed and favorite. As I stated above, I expected WDA champion Konnor Stordalen to be the favorite at this weight class to start the season based on past results. I like his chances to come through this bracket. The bottom half of the bracket is filled with finalist potential, starting with #2 Isaiah Gates of Fargo South and #3 Jack Kuntz of Devils Lake, but it doesnt end there. Realistically #7 Tytus Bachmeier of Mandan and #6 KC Ortiz of West Fargo could also run through. The bottom half of 285 seems primed for a bracket buster finalist.
Unseeded Wrestler To Watch: Asher Woods (Minot), Tanner LaRocque (Turtle Mountain)