Class B Individual Team Preview: Can Anyone Beat Lisbon?

+UPDATE 2/18 10:00:  Lisbon has removed 182 Avery Dick from the tournament due to an injury sustained in the Region 1 final.  NDwrestle wishes Avery the best on his road to recovery.  The team race projections have been adjusted to show a drop of 14.5 (a fourth place seed) from Lisbon’s projected team total, though the article original written will remain the same.

Team Race:

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

  1. Lisbon  183
  2. South Border  168.5
  3. Velva 130.5
  4. Carrington 123.5
  5. New Salem 110

Team Race Breakdown

Based on the foolproof model above, Lisbon is absolutely the favorite to win another Individual championship.  That said South Border is within striking distance and with a strong tournament, the Mustangs could leave Fargo with top individual honors.  Third place Velva is in an interesting position.  With 130.5 potential team points and a lot of lower seeds(two #5, a #6 and three #7’s), Velva could put enough together to challenge South Border for second. It is unlikely they would catch Lisbon under those circumstances.  It is more likely that we see a battle at the top between South Border and Lisbon, and a three team race for third between Velva, Carrington, and New Salem.  There are some other strong squads in the mix, but it would surprise me to see anyone else crack the top five.

Lisbon is in a great position as the top seed, and freshman state champion Boeden Greenly is as big a favorite as there is in this tournament.  His points are probably locked and I expect a lot of bonus.  Lisbon’s other state champion #1 seed Jordan Sours took a loss last week to South Border’s Jake Herr.  Sours is still the favorite, but if this final happens and the team race is still in question, everyone in the stands is a winner.  It isn’t too often that a state champion comes back the next year seeded fourth, but that is what Lisbon has in senior Caleb Nielsen.  Nielsen’s path wont be easy.  He is 1-1 with #5 Gunnar Mogen and would run into Kindred state champion Carter Schmitz in the semis, but I think his seed of fourth is also his point scoring floor.  Nielsen has a state title ceiling, so the chances are good  improhves on his current projected total and helps push Lisbon’s title hopes.  Carter Wallner (#3 106) and Mike Nelson (#3 113) are in great position to wrestle above their seeds and make the finals.  Neither Wallner nor Nelson has wrestled their potential semifinal opponents, and they appear to be tossup matches on paper.  On the other hand, I think the draws of Sam Rieger ( #2 220), Avery Dick (#4 182), and Jaden Schmidt (#4 152) pose challenges.  Though Rieger is 2-0 with Ellendale/Edgeley/Kulm’s Ethan Ellingson on the year, Ellingson is a strong Region 1 foe and the two are very familiar.  Avery Dick has been a huge boost to the Lisbon lineup since wrestling his first match January 14.  His 4/5 quarterfinal bout with Hillsboro/CV’s Gavin Wright is one I have my eye on.  Dick won a 4-3 decision over Wright in the quarterfinals at East/West.  Another major factor for the Broncos that can’t be ignored is Dick’s overall health.  Dick was forced to default from the Region 1 finals with an injury.  I imagine this will be a major story line going into Thursday morning.  Another 4/5 matchup with important team race implications that fans should watch closely is that of Schmidt and #5 Walter Winkler of Des Lacs/Burlington.  Schmidt won a tight decision over Winkler at the East/West and the match will be a tossup Thursday evening.  Lisbon has a few unseeded wrestlers that have the potential to grab extra points as well. At 120, there is a path for Levi Sveum to sneak onto the podium.  The first round match for Jacob Reinke at 170 is also one that I’ve earmarked as a potential upset spot.  Lisbon 145 #3 Hunter Schwab is right where he should be from a seeding standpoint. I don’t see Schwab finishing lower than third, but beating Region 1 foe Garrett Hebl of LaMoure/L/M will be a tall order. Schwab is 0-3 to Hebl on the season.

 South Border has their work cut out for them, but a title is absolutely a potential outcome.  The Mustangs will need to find a few places to over-wrestle their seeds should they want to make this a race. A Jake Herr victory over Jordan Sours in the state finals at 160 would be the first big step.  After Jake Herr,  the next place to look for South Border to add to their above suggested team total is at 152.  Mark Jochim was undefeated rolling into the Region 1 tournament but took a 5-4 loss to Kindred’s Easton Ogren in the Region final.  The loss pushed Jochim to the second seed at the weight class. Jochim has a first period fall over potential semifinal opponent Bransyn Yanish of Velva, so the probability of making the finals is high.  Ogren got the win in the Region final, but if the two end up in the finals, the match is a 50/50 that could go the way of the South Border senior.  At 113, Charles Herr can’t do much better than a potential semifinal match against a wrestler he has previously defeated in Carrington #1 Treston Lura.  Lura has also pinned Herr and is definitely the favorite in that potential match up, but the confidence that comes with knowing you can beat the #1 seed in the state is important.  Herr also has a nice quarterfinal matchup with Havlin Delong of Northern Lights. Herr majored Delong earlier in the season.  Jon Schockley finds himself in an similar position as Charles Herr with a 1-1 record against a higher seeded opponent.  For Schockley, who is the #6 seed at 138, that opponent is New Salem/Almont’s Ethan Hammons.  Hammons defeated Schockley 6-3 at the Napoleon Early Bird way back in early December, but Schockley rebounded with a fall in the East/West semifinals.  The key to a higher ceiling at 138 is landing in the bracket opposite of Lisbon’s Boeden Greenley, and Schockley’s #6 seed is a perfect spot for a run at the finals.   Even #7 seed at 106 Tristan Lepp is in a great position on the bottom half of a bracket that is wide open and prime for upsets.  The South Border top seed I haven’t talked about is 120 Marshall Lindgren.  With #2 Carter Schmitz bumping to 126 for Regionals, the championship probability for Lindgren rises dramatically.  Lindgren has yet to lose in-state at 120 pounds, so he has to be seen as strong favorite to grab the 27 first place points that have been allotted to South Border at the weight.  I do think Lindgren’s potential semifinal opponent Matthew Duchscherer (Carrington) is a solid road block. In their only match this season, Lindgren defeated Duchscherer 6-5 in the East/West semifinals.  I expect another barn burner with a lot on the line for both teams.  Mustang #3 132 Grant Schneider and 195 #2 Nathan Schauer are in a good position to score at their seed, but wrestling above will be a challenge given who stands in front of them.  For Schauer it is #1 and undefeated Coy Spooner of Des Lacs/Burlington.  Schneider would need a semifinal victory over Carrington’s Brecken Lura.  Lura holds three decision victories over Schneider on the year.

Velva is in a great position at the state tournament given that they have ten wrestlers seeded.  That number is just one less than Lisbon and South Border.  The barrier for Velva is that seven of those seeds are fifth or lower, and thus projecting where the Aggies will finish is a bit more challenging. While Lisbon and South Border are sure to put a few wrestlers through to the finals (barring something disastrous), Velva’s only wrestler seeded in the top two is 106 Colin Dean.  The 106 pound weight class is very deep with talent this season, so Dean will have a lot of tight matches on his path to the finals.  I do love what #3 285 Nick Hodges has done late in the season, and think he is primed for a title run and a points bump for his team.  Hodges is 2-2 with #1 seed Keegan Henjum of Bishop Ryan including a 9-4 decision in last week’s Region 3 title match, and while Hodges was pinned by #6 AJ Heins and #2 Nate Boehm this year, the junior has proven he can roll with the best at this weight and is peaking right now.  If you are looking for a five seed with state title upside, look no further than Gunnar Mogen at 126.  Mogen’s quarterfinal is a state championship rematch from a year ago with Caleb Nielsen. Nielsen won that bout last February, but the two are 1-1 this year and will meet in the quarterfinals Thursday night. If two of the three between Dean, Mogen, and Hodges can make the finals, I like the chances of Velva piling up enough 5-8 places finishes from the rest of their ranked guys to bring home third place. Those 5-8 seeded Aggies; Michael Thomas, Brayden and Bryce Selzler, Wyatt Hanson, and Jeremiah Jesperson ultimately will hold the keys to Velva’s success this weekend.  Bransyn Yanish is a solid third at 152, but Yanish will have trouble finishing higher than that with South Border’s Jochim his likely semifinal opponent.

With only seven wrestlers seeded respectively, New Salem and Carrington are stuck in a position where they will need more state titles to maximize their potential.  Either could bump Velva for third with strong tournaments.  Both Treston and Brecken Lura are in good position to make the finals, and as I stated above, Matthew Duchscherer is capable of winning it at 120 and scoring way more than is #4 seed currently offers.  #3 seeds Tate Hoggarth (160) and and Michael Clifton (170) are in interesting positions as well.  It is easy to call 160 a two horse race between Jordan Sours and Jake Herr, but Hoggarth has been within striking distance of both, losing a 5-0 decision to Herr and 7-4 decision to Sours this season.  Though Clifton is unlikely to win a title with #1 ranked Outstanding Senior Wrestler Garrett Jangula waiting in the finals, Clifton and #2 seed Zack Anderson of Killdeer are 1-1 on the year.  Clifton won 7-2 at Linton, while Anderson eeked out a 10-9 victory at East/West.  Pay close attention to that possible semifinal.  The other wildcard for Carrington is 220 #6 Colton Buskness.  Buskness returned to the team in January and has steadily improve since then.  He draws a quarterfinal with Ellendale/Edgeley/Kulm’s Ethan Ellingson, who defeated Buskness 5-2 at East/West.  Ellingson defaulted in the finals of the Region 1 tournament, so his health could be a factor in that bout.  Buskness has not wrestled #2 Sam Rieger this season.  #4 seed Beau Retzlaff is seeded right about where I expect him to finish.  With DLB’s Spooner waiting in the semifinals, Retzlaff’s ceiling is likely third.  Pay attention to unseeded Kael Kovar at 126.  Kovar’s draw isn’t great, but he is capable of placing.

New Salem will be led by Cole and Clay Gerhardt at 106 and 132 respectively, and the brothers stand with Boeden Greenley, Garrett Jangula, and Coy Spooner as the biggest favorites to win their weight class in the Class B tournament.  With a solid 54 points from the Gerhardts (of course, nothing is guaranteed), New Salem will need to find another eighty or so to get themselves into the third place conversation.  It starts with Ethan Hammons at 138.  Hammons is seeded third and will run into a tough quarterfinal bout with Jon Schokley of South Border before potentially wrestling Preston Litton of Pembina County North.  Any one of those three individuals could come out of that half of the bracket and into the finals.  If Hammons is the one, no one should be surprised.  220 Adam Morman and 285 AJ Heins are in position to place at or about their seed.  #6 seed Heins has a win over quarterfinal opponent Nick Hodges of Velva, so the possibility of an upset and advancement to the semifinals is there.  I don’t see Heins finishing below his projected sixth.  Morman is a good bet to make the semifinals, but he will have a tough time against #1 Peyton Grunfelder of Napoleon.  Grunfelder has beaten Morman three times this year, though two of those losses have been one point decisions.  The guys I’m most intrigued by for New Salem are #8 Wyatt Engwitch and  unseeded Ty Wolding.  Wolding sits at 34-7 on the season, which is one of the best winning percentage for an unseeded wrestler in the tournament.  Wolding’s draw is not great; he drew into the #3 seed, and will likely have to beat talented a 4/5 seed to place. That said, Wolding is a capable wrestler and the Holsteins would benefit tremendously from a run to the podium.  Engwitch and teammate Cole Gerhardt are the best 106 pounders in the state, but sadly there can only be one.  Size-not talent- will be the barrier for Engwitch placing high in this tournament.  A future where Engwitch and Gerhardt are spread out looks very bright for the Holsteins.  As it currently stands placing will be a battle for Engwitch up a weight at 113.

NDwrestle Predictions

  1. Lisbon
  2. South Border
  3. Carrington
  4. Velva
  5. New Salem

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