PROJECTED TEAM POINTS BASED ON SEED
Points assigned to seed: 1: 27, 2: 22, 3: 18, 4: 14.5, 5: 13, 6: 9.5, 7: 8, 8: 6
- Bismarck: 233.5
- Century: 156
- Minot: 143.5
- Jamestown: 115.5
- Valley City: 114
- Devils Lake: 97.5
Team Race Breakdown
The only question in this team race is going to be whether Bismarck High cements itself as one of the best teams in tournament history. Bismarck High returns three state champions to Fargo in Christian and Wilfried Tanefeu, and Brandt Kringlie. The Tanefeu brothers are undefeated against North Dakotans this season and are as good a bet as any in the state to repeat. Kringlie is a bit of a question mark in that it is pretty clear he is not at his best right now. The junior spent the last six months (at least) working his way back from an injury and while he is absolutely a threat to win it given what he is capable of, it is going to be a tall order. At the West Region tournament, Kringlie edged Clay LaRocque of Turtle Mountain in the semifinals before falling to Chase Burke of Minot 5-2 in the Region final. Seeded third, it will take a gutty effort for Kringlie to repeat given what has worked against him this year. The state title potential for Bismarck goes far beyond those three wrestlers though. Eighth grader L.J. Araujo will look to continue Bismarck’s historic dominance in the 106 pound weight class with a title form the top seed. Araujo has only been tested this season by Valley City’s Koye Grebel, so Araujo’s floor is probably an appearance in the state finals. At 132, second seed Kaden Renner has won fourteen in a row and beaten likely semifinal opponent Kelby Armstrong of Minot in their last two match ups. The weight is deep and Renner has a loss to Armstrong and #4 Devin Schulz of Century, so while I think he is probably a favorite, a loss to senior Armstrong who has won a title before is also a possibility. Another title favorite for BHS is 152 Brock Fettig. Fettig won the WDA and enters the state tournament the overall #1 seed. Maybe the two biggest title favorites for the Demons are 170 Gage Roaldson and 182 Isaiah Huus. Roaldson has been outright dominant in-state this season. Roaldson is a hard nosed grinder and will be very tough for any one to beat. The same can be said about Huus, who won Cadet All American honors in Fargo last summer. With the departure of Dickinson’s Tanner Jarrett up a weight class, #2 Colby Rance of Devils Lake is the only wrestler remaining at 182 with a legitimate shot of upending Huus. Huus defeated Rance via major decision and second period fall in two matches this season.
To review, I just listed eight wrestlers with a good probability of advancing to the state finals, and that doesn’t include two seniors in Preston Fettig (138) and Cullen Glatt (195) with high upside and a good probability of finishing above seed. Bismarck seems to push through a wild card every single year, and Fettig, Glatt, and 145 Ben Nagel are the perfect candidates this season. The Demons aren’t likely losing this team race, but they do have a fun opportunity to chase history if up for the challenge.
Though touting the second place race seems odd, the numbers dictate a tight race between Century and Minot for second and third, and another tight race behind them for the last trophy (fourth) between Jamestown, Valley City, and possibly Devils Lake.
NDwrestle’s model has Century and Minot in a tight battle for second place in that 150 point range. Both the Patriots and Magi have strong teams. Century’s Clay Radenz is the only title favorite between the two, but Minot has three #2 seeds to Century’s one. Minot also boasts three #3 seeds. Based on the brackets, I see more potential to place above seed from the Magi. That is why I think they will break the model and edge Century for second. With Kelby Armstrong (132), Trevon McClaanahan (138), Chase Burke (160), Jacob Carmichael (195), and Preston Jones (220), Minot has five wrestlers that aren’t seeded to win a titles capable of doing so. I don’t expect them all to do it, but if Minot ended with three state champions Saturday I wouldn’t be surprised. I really think Century can wrestle above seed at 285. Konnor Stordalen would’ve been my pick to win the weight back in November, but now sits in the four seed with only two in-state losses on the year. Stordalen didn’t start competing until mid-December, so my guess is that he was a bit rusty early in the year. He does have a loss to top ranked Brody DeFoe of Grand Forks Central (his potential semifinal opponent), but his #4 seed is based more on upsets in the EDC tournament than where his talent level is. Stordalen hasn’t wrestled #2 Isaiah Gates (South) or #3 Jack Kuntz (Devils Lake) this year, so even if he falls to Defoe in the semis, his chances at third are strong. A title from Stordalen would be huge for the Patriots. I also like the positioning of 132 Devin Schulz in the bracket. Like Stordalen, Schulz is seeded #4 in a weight class where the top three were probably interchangeable. Make no mistake, Jacob Thomas of South earned his #1 seed at the weight. That said, Schulz hips and high scoring style make a potential semifinal match up with Thomas an intriguing one.
I wish the NDHSAA gave five trophies for the State Tournament, but they do not. Thus Valley City, Jamestown, and Devils Lake will likely battle for one team plaque. Each team has a bit of finalist potential, coupled with the depth of many qualifiers and other seeded wrestlers. For Valley City, finals appearances from 106 Koye Grebel and 160 Parker Larson are very important. The same is true for Jamestown with Aden Braun and Devils Lake with Brant Fisk. Jamestown has the most seeded wrestlers with nine, while Valley City has eight and Devils Lake six. A quick look at the bracket will reveal that Valley City has a strong group of “barely unseeded” wrestlers with a possibility of jumping on the podium. A wrestler like 145 Tyson Hovland is unseeded, but absolutely capable of making the podium. At the end of the day, I think the floor and potential upside of Jamestown wrestlers like Colton Mewes and Noah Braun will be too much for Valley City to overcome. Devils Lake will be a lot of fun to follow next weekend, but I don’t think they have enough firepower to score a trophy this season.
- Valley City