Panther wrestlers travel to Fargo Dome for state tourney
The bus carrying Rugby Panther wrestlers, their families and boosters left the Rugby Armory parking lot for state in Fargo with high hopes Wednesday, Feb. 17.
The team bus received the customary sendoff from local first responders, sirens blaring and lights flashing as they approached U.S. Highway 2 near Home of Economy. Fans parked their cars along the route to wave and cheer.
Panthers Coach Craig Zachmeier said he had high hopes for the team as he boarded the bus.
“Everybody should win a match, which is good,” he said. “We probably have the best individually that we’re going to have in a few years,” he added. “I expect to put three in the semifinals and hopefully, we get a couple of them to come back with championships.”
“We have John Jundt and Riley Odden,” he said. “Then we have Cole Schneibel, he’s our senior this year.”
“Then, Austin Schneibel’s going to be fighting for a place,” Zachmeier added. “Our younger kids should win a match, if not more.”
Zachmeier’s predictions proved true.
In the 126-pound class, John Jundt advanced to the quarterfinals after taking Harvey-Wells County’s Jadyn Vollmer down in a fall at 1:04, then winning by 10-6 decision over Shayden Schiele. Grafton’s Chance Burns defeated Jundt by 5-2 decision in the quarterfinals, then New Salem-Almont’s Ethan Maier won by 9-3 decision over Jundt in the fourth consolation round.
After receiving a bye in the first championship round, Bailey Zachmeier fell to Williams County’s Ethan Wonser in 18 seconds in the second championship round for the 132-pound class. Zachmeier then won by 20-16 decision over Ellendale-Edgeley-Kulm’s Greg Fuher in the second consolation round before losing in a technical fall to New Salem-Almont’s Riley Doll in 4:46.
In the 138-pound class, Riley Odden fell to Lisbon’s Levi Sveum in 5:04. Odden won over Oakes’ John German by fall in 1:54, then by fall over Pembina County North’s Preston Litton in 3:49. Odden lost by 8-3 decision to Killdeer’s Gus Bohmbach.
In the 145-pound class, Austin Schneibel fell to Diontrea Anderson of Kenmare-Bowbells in 2:45. Scneibel then fell to Hillsboro-Central Valley’s Ben Thompson in 4:54 in consolation round one.
In the 152-pound class, Cole Anderson fell to Pembina County North’s Matthew Keena in 1:22 in championship round one before falling to Velva’s Kelson Mascol in 2:22 in the first consolation round.
After receiving a bye in the 220-pound class, Landon Zietz fell in 48 seconds to Pembina County North’s Eli Bjornstad in the second championship round , then fell to Beulah-Hazen’s Ashton Parker in 1:24 in consolation round two.
After receiving a bye in the first championship round for the 285-pound class, Cole Schneibel lost by 5-2 decision to Killdeer’s Ben Roundy. Schneibel went on to defeat Mondak Thunder’s Deryck Lang by fall in 1:14 for his first consolation round, then South Border’s Trent Brokaw in 1:38 for consolation round three before he fell to Oakes’ Jacob Hankel in 2:30 in consolation round four.
In the 113-pound class, Bryson Amyotte fell to New Salem-Almont’s Cole Gerhardt in 1:21, then fell to South Border’s Brody Hoffman in consolation round two.
After the Panthers came home, Jundt said he felt happy to appear at state for a second time. Jundt saw an eighth-place finish in Fargo in 2020.
“It was different this time,” Jundt said of state. “They rearranged the dome.”
“They did class B wrestling in the morning, then we got a chance to practice before the next day, that was different. Then we went back the second day, and we were out of there early.”
Jundt, a sophomore, said he hopes to stay with wrestling throughout high school. He said he and his teammates hope to return to state next year as well.
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