Three wrestlers place at state tourney
Three Rugby High School Panther wrestlers placed among top finishers at the Fargo Dome last weekend in the North Dakota Class B State Individual tournament.
Rugby High’s Brady Volk, Riley Odden and John Jundt walked to the Panther bus with their teammates to a sendoff by their classmates in the Rugby High School quad last Wednesday. Co-op student Aden Jensen, who attends Leeds High School, joined the group of contenders for the trip to Fargo.
The festive mood continued at Fargo, where some fans parking their cars paid fees forward for the people behind them. Helpful Dome staff directed people to seats and families cheered not only for their own wrestlers, but for friends on other teams as well.
Volk and Odden each went to the mat for their weight classes last Thursday and saw promising results as they advanced to the semifinal rounds the next day.
Although Jundt struggled in Thursday’s first round against Hillsboro/Central Valley’s Luke Leshuk, he battled back to win by an 11-4 decision to Logan Berg of MonDak.
“That was my first time wrestling at state, so it was overwhelming at first, but it was definitely a really fun place to be,” Jundt, a freshman at Rugby High said after the tournament.
Jundt faced three more battles after his win over Berg.
Jundt’s sudden victory win over South Border’s Matthew Wolf onFriday had him pumping his fists in the air as Panther fans cheered.
Saturday, Jundt faced Lisbon’s Caleb Nielsen, who won by tech fall in 4:31. The seventh-place match saw Jundt fall to New Salem/Almont’s Cody Irwin in 3:56. Jundt scored three team points with his eighth-place finish.
Jundt said he “definitely” planned to return to Panther wrestling next year.
“I’m hoping by my senior year to be a four time placer at state,” Jundt said.
Teammate Aden Jensen competed for the championship and consolation rounds Thursday and Friday. Jensen fell to Oakes’ Brackin Awender in 46 seconds and Jayden Ybarra of Alexander in 49 seconds.
Odden climbed to fourth place in state by taking Beulah/Hazen’s Colson Sago down by fall in 1:32. Odden then took Carrington’s Brecken Lura down in 3:34. The next day of the tournament, South Border’s Grant Schneider won by an 11-0 major decision over Odden.
Volk paved the way to a fourth-place finish of his own with two first day victories as well, taking down Beulah/Hazen’s Trevin Sago by tech fall for the championship round and defeating Carson Mertz of Harvey/Wells County by 9-5 decision.
The second day of the tournament, Volk saw a setback when he fell to Lisbon’s Jordan Sours in 3:34.
“We pulled upsets yesterday to get in (the final rounds) and I wish we had battled better,” Panther Coach Craig Zachmeier said after the second day’s rounds. “We’re going to get ready for tomorrow and see how high we can place. We’re wrestling well. We had a couple of hiccups here and there. John Jundt came through and placed today. We were only supposed to place a couple and we got three in (the final rounds). I think everyone wrestled above their seeds again, so we’re having a good tournament.”
Volk won by a 7-3 decision over Velva’s Michael Thomas the final day of the tournament. The third-place battle saw Volk defeated by Carrington’s Tate Hoggarth.
Odden’s fourth-place finish began on the final tournament day with a win by fall over Pembina County North’s Jayce Horgan in 2:38. Odden fell to Cade Warbis of Hettinger/Scranton in 4:33 in the third-place match.
“I had a whole lot of fun this season,” Volk told the Tribune via phone Tuesday.
“I’ll miss all the things (in Panther wrestling), and all the different people I got to meet from different towns and all the memories I had going back to first-grade wrestling all the way through the camps and when I was in middle school, all the way up to all the friends I met in high school. I’ll miss the long bus rides,” Volk said.
Volk, a senior, said he plans to pursue an education and career in agriculture after he graduates from Rugby High. Volk said he would finish the year with school work and farming in the spring.
Sophomore Odden said of his trip to state, “I loved it. It was very fun. I met some friends that I haven’t seen in over a year.”
Odden said he traveled to state last year as well. “I came in seeded eighth last year, and I came in eighth,” he noted.
Odden said he planned to participate in summer wrestling “to get better. I’m going to wrestling camps,” Odden said.
“We’re all getting better,” Odden said of the Panther wrestlers. “I’m looking forward to next year.”
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