Grafton places three at state tournament in Fargo
Sophomore Jaron Lunday earns
second place finish
The Grafton Spoilers had their best showing yet at the 2013 North Dakota State Wrestling Tournament held last Thursday through Saturday at the Fargodome.
The Spoilers earned a team-best 41 points and had three wrestlers place in the top eight.
Jaron Lunday, who was ranked first at 138 pounds finished second, Travis Dolan who was ranked eighth at 132 pounds finished seventh and Art DeLaCruz, who entered the tournament unranked, finished eighth. Six of the seven wrestlers that advanced to state won at least one match.
In addition, all four seniors, Dolan, DeLaCruz, Santo Reyes and Kody Kringstad won at least one match.
“This is our best tournament so far as to how many points we’ve scored and how many victories we got,” Grafton coach Brad Larson said. “We wanted to get our seniors in and get them a win. We accomplished that so I’m very pleased.”
Jaron Lunday entered the tournament as the top seed with a record of 16-0 after sitting out several weeks with a muscle pull in his ribcage.
In the first round, Lunday wrestled unranked Austin Becker of Napoleon. Becker scored the first points of the match with a takedown, but Lunday went on to win a major decision, 15-4.
In the quarterfinals Thursday, Lunday scored a 10-1 major decision over familiar opponent Gabe Schill of Pembina County North.
In Friday’s semifinals, Lunday scored a 7-2 decision over Brayden Kuntz of South Border to advance to his first state title match.
In the championship Lunday faced senior Colton Neumiller of New Salem-Almont, who entered the championship with a 34-5 record.
Lunday scored a takedown in the first period and led 2-0 until late in the second period. In the second period, Lunday chose the down position and Neumiller took advantage, tying the match late with two near-fall points.
“He (Lunday) chose down in the second period and if he got an escape he would have been up 3-0. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get away and gave up some back points to make it 2-2,” Larson said. “The back-points call was simply a bad call that changed the whole match plus Jaron re-aggravated his injury.”
The third period saw a series of points scored by both wrestlers and in the end, Neumiller came away with a 10-7 decision and the state title.
“We decided to let him up to make it 3-2 to get a takedown to go up 4-3, but I think Jaron pressed a little too much and (Neumiller) was able to counter his takedowns and get the win,” Larson said.
“It’s tough to see someone lose when they are so close to accomplishing their goals, but Jaron had a great season,” Larson said. “Not a lot of people can say they made it to the state finals, especially after missing half of the season due to an injury.”
“I was pretty disappointed, but I guess I’ve got to learn from it,” Lunday said.
In opening round action, Travis Dolan defeated Tanner Rohde of Killdeer. Dolan scored a takedown in the first period and an escape in the second period to lead 3-0. Rohde scored two points on a reversal in the third period to make the score 3-2. Dolan scored one point for an escape in the third period and then avoided a takedown in the closing seconds to pull out the 4-2 win.
In the second round, Dolan had a tough draw against top seed Justin Thomas of DesLacs-Burlington.
In his third match of the tournament, Dolan assured himself of a place when he held on to beat Mason Brudevold of Velva 7-5.
Dolan led 7-0 in the third period before Brudevold scored a late takedown and a three point near fall before time expired to make things interesting.
“I knew there was only about 30 seconds left and if I didn’t get pinned I’d win. So I just rode it out,” Dolan said.
In action Saturday, Dolan lost to a 6-0 decision to fourth-ranked Carson Koble of Harvey-Wells County. Then in the match for seventh place, he dominated Cameron Flick of Central Cass, pinning him with six seconds left in the first period.
Dolan said he was happy to place at state.
“Last year I won my first match at state and then lost out,” he said. “This year I wanted to accomplish something at state and make it worthwhile.”
At 170 pounds, Grafton senior Art DeLaCruz opened the tournament with a tough draw against second-seeded Nicholas Becker of Napoleon and lost a 10-1 major decision.
In the first consolation round, DeLaCruz defeated Dakota Neether of Watford City.
In the second consolation round, DeLaCruz assured himself of a top eight finish when he won an exciting, sudden-victory decision over eighth-seeded Seth Zink of Carrington.
The match went scoreless with both wrestlers up in the first and third periods and DeLaCruz in the down position in the second period.
With time running out in the extra period, DeLaCruz countered a shot by Zink and scored a takedown to win the match 2-0.
“He had lost to (Zink) in the regionals 7-3,” Larson said. “He had been wrestling well at state so I knew if he was aggressive he’d have a good chance.”
In the third consolation round, DeLaCruz lost a 1-0 decision to Trevor Meidinger of South Border. In the seventh place match, DeLaCruz led most of the match, but couldn’t hold on, losing a 7-5 decision to Alex Giese of Kenmare-Bowbells.
“Art’s another great kid in our program,” Larson said. “He doesn’t say a lot, but he’s another leader that we’re going to miss a lot.”
Senior Kody Kringstad had a tough draw in the opening round losing to second-ranked Mathew Gross of Napoleon at 160 pounds. With six seconds left in the first period, Gross scored a pin that put Kringstad into the wrestlebacks.
In first round of the consolation round Kringstad pinned Cole Hysjulien of Stanley Powers Lake, before being pinned by eighth seed Brett Lyman of Carrrington.
Grafton senior Santos Reyes entered the tournament with a 15-14 record in the 182 pound weight class. In opening round action, Reyes was pinned at the 3:22 mark by eighth seeded Jed Bopp of Oakes.
In the first consolation round, Reyes pinned Familiar opponent Alex Kleven of MayPort-CG 12 seconds into the second period.
In the second consolation round, Reyes was pinned at the 1:44 mark of the first period by seventh-ranked Colby Steeke of Hettinger ending his appearance at state with a 1-2 record.
First year wrestler Jacob Stauss entered the tournament with a 7-18 record at 220 pounds. In opening round action, Stauss was pinned by third seed Logan Shockman of LaMoure at the :47 mark of the first period. In the first consolation round, Stauss was pinned by Trevor McCloud of Rolla-St.John-Rollette at the 1:49 mark of the first period.
At 285, junior Mike Moran entered the tournament with 19-11 record and wrestled third seed Michael Kelly of Oakes in the first round. Kelly won via pin with 34 seconds left in the second period.
In the first consolation round, Moran pinned Macormick Stuber of Bowman County before being pinned by Dylan Claus of Lisbon at the 2:38 mark.
Overall Larson said he was very pleased with the way the 2012-2013 season turned out and is looking toward continued success in the future.
“We had such a good tournament with three state placers and just about everyone winning a match that I’m just so proud of the way we came out and performed,” Larson said. “I’m going to miss our seniors. I just hope the younger guys have learned from them and are excited about the fact that if they put in the work they can have success at state like these guys.”