Wrestlers compete at home, away in busy tournament week
Rugby High School Panther wrestlers hosted more than 20 schools from throughout North Dakota on two blustery days last weekend for the 2020 Panther Booster Tourney in the Rugby High School gym.
Schools from eastern North Dakota had a smaller than usual turnout for the event due to a winter storm that closed Interstates 29 and 94 and other roads in the region.
“Central Cass was here,” Panther coach Craig Zachmeier said. “They came on Thursday ahead of the storm.”
“We’re five schools short,” Zachmeier added, “But this is still the best Class B tournament in the state. It’s the best run, it’s the best facility, it’s just the best there is. We’re pulling St. Mary’s (high school in Bismarck) in. This filled every hotel room in the town up two nights in a row.”
Zachmeier called the economic impact the tournament made on Rugby “unbelieveable.”
“We (still have to) figure out how much we pull in concessions, the gas stations, the restaurants, the lounges, the door receipts – it’s huge. It’s an opportunity for the whole community, not just our kids.”
As in recent tournaments, the Panthers battled more than opponents from other schools on the mat. Parents talked of flu hitting participants on teams from Rugby and other towns. Physical therapists and medical personnel from Rugby Ambulance Service stood at the ready to treat injuries.
Wrestlers including Panther Aden Jensen took timeouts from their matches to have coaches treat nosebleeds.
Wrestler Riley Odden moved into the quarterfinals for the 138-pound division, defeating New Salem’s Mason Olander by 10-0 major decision and Harrison Grad of Bismarck St. Mary’s by fall in 3:14. Odden advanced again after winning by 15-14 decision over Stanley’s Keyton Meiers, but lost to Isaac Feichle of Bismarck St. Mary’s by a 9-3 decision.
Odden’s next opponent, Matthew Scheer of Bismarck St. Mary’s, took him down hard on the mat, alerting medical personnel, who placed him on concussion protocol and ended his participation in the tourney. Odden’s medical forfeit to Scheer and Meiers of Stanley gave him a sixth-place finish for the event.
Senior Brady Volk finished at the top for the Panthers in third place, but he sat quietly after his final bout. Volk said it was “tough to say” how he felt about the accomplishment.
The 160-pound Volk won by fall over Northern Lights’ Isaac Herbel in 4:31 before falling to Killdeer’s Zach Anderson in 5:01 in the semifinals. Volk won by 7-0 decision over Des Lacs-Burlington’s Weston Wahus, then took down Adam Richter of Bismarck St. Mary’s in 3:32 in the third-place match.
Teammate John Jundt placed fourth in his division, after defeating 126-pounder Kutter Brown of Williams County by fall and Linton’s Blake Odden by medical forfeit. After falling to Reece Barnhardt of Bismarck St. Mary’s and Velva’s Gunnar Mogen, Jundt took down Beulah-Hazen’s Colson Sago by fall in 4:18.
Jundt said he felt “pretty good” about the tournament. “I wish more teams would’ve come, but it turned out pretty good.”
Rugby High placed 14th overall in team scores out of 22 schools with 55 points.
Panther Bryson Amyotte scored three team points after winning by major decision over Des Lacs-Burlington’s Cooper Bredahl in the second consolation round for the 113-pound division. Amyotte won by 6-5 decision in double overtime in Consolation Round 3. Velva’s Shayden Schiele took Amyotte down by fall in 52 seconds in the second championship round, and Amyotte fell to Bishop Ryan’s Gattlin Ledoux in 40 seconds in the final consolation round.
Jensen scored four team points after taking down Velva’s Kelson Mascol in the second consolation round for the 145-pound division in 1:31. Jensen lost to Des lacs-Burlington’s Cale Ibach by 2-0 decision in the quarterfinal and later fell to Bismarck St. Mary’s Jaxyn Richter in 4:12 in the third consolation round. Jensen placed eighth for the division after a medical forfeit to Kenmare’s Diontrea Andersen.
“The main problem is the mentality,” Zachmeier said after the tournament. “You’ve got to get mentally tough. It’s that time of year you start realizing where you’re at in the state level and if you don’t bear down, embrace the competition and embrace the grind, you’re going to start getting beat. And that’s what we’re seeing. We were seeing our kids not being mentally ready and they’re getting mentally beaten before they even go on the mat.”
Zachmeier added, “My young kids are coming around, and now those top end kids, we’ve got to get them spiraling back in the right direction.”
“We go to DLB on Tuesday for a quadrangular, and then we go to Rolla this weekend for a small tournament – six teams will be there,” Zachmeier noted.
“We’ll have an easy week to recover, Zachemeier said. “I’m going to pull Riley Odden for a week to make sure he recovers for his concussion protocol. It’s just to make sure he’s okay. It’ll help him reset. We talked about the mentality they need to reset.”
“There’s going to be a lot of practice. We’re going to start doing open mats tomorrow night and we’ll go every morning this week.” Zachmeier said.
Other Rugby finishers in the Panther Booster Tourney were:
– Brenden Kleespie, 120-pound division, fell Riley Doll, New Salem, in 37 seconds; fell to Garrett Zink, Linton, in 28 seconds.
– Cole Anderson, 126-pound division, fell to Gunnar Mogen, Velva, in 43 seconds; fell to Justin Johnson, Grafton, in 37 seconds.
– Bailey Zachmeier, 132-pound division, fell to Grayson Pease, Des Lacs- Burlington, in 2:36; fell to William Lengenfelder, Bismarck St. Mary’s, in 1:45.
– Isaac Christenson, 145-pound division, fell to Cody Rudolph, Stanley, in 33 seconds; received a bye in Consolation Round 1; defeated by Jaxson Richter, Bismarck St. Mary’s, in 4-0 decision.
– Landon Zietz, fell to Peyton Grunefelder, Napoleon, in 40 seconds; received a bye in Consolation Round 1; fell to Dillon Froshaug, Velva, in 4:04.
– The Panthers would travel to Des Lacs-Burlington High School for a quad tournament against the DLB Lakers, the Kenmare Honkers and the MonDak Thunder.
– After falling to Kenmare, Rugby came on strong against MonDak with a 31-6 team score.
The Panthers wrestled DLB under a spotlight for the evening’s final match. Rugby’s Amyotte won by fall against DLB’s Reese Peck, while DLB’s Weston Wahus fell to Rugby’s Volk. Zietz won by fall against DLB’s Nathan Robbins and 285-pound Panther Cole Schneibel defeated Jordan Robbins by fall. The final 40-30 DLB team win reflected the fact several weight divisions were open on the Panther side.
Zachmeier described the Panthers’ results at Tuesday’s tournament as “Not bad.”
“Our first dual against Kenmare, we didn’t do too well. We did okay against Grenora (MonDak) and we wrestled well this dual,” Zachmeier added.
The Panthers travel today to Rolla to compete against five other schools. “That’s a smaller tournament,” Zachmeier noted. “It’s a warm-up for the bigger tournament in New Salem. That’s a week from Friday.”
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