Grafton wrestles at Storhaugh invite
The Grafton Spoiler wrestling program has had much success in the season so far. That success continued last Saturday at the Storhaugh Invitational Tournament in Lisbon.
Prior to the start of the season, coach Brad Larson said those successes would not be quantified by team wins and losses, but by individual successes.
At the tournament, Grafton had all but three wrestlers pick up wins throughout the two day event.
Larson said that if you look at the past for the Grafton program, there were only one or two guys winning matches. Now, fast forward three years, it’s an accomplishment to place in the tournament.
“I was pleasantly surprised,” Larson said. “I thought we would struggle more than we did. It’s one of the toughest tournaments in Class A or B.”
Travis Dolan, who wrestled at 132 pounds, was the only Spoiler wrestler to place in the tournament, taking 6th place, losing by decision to Oakes’ Caden Coleman 4-3.
“Anytime you place in the Lisbon tournament, it’s an accomplishment,” Larson said of Dolan’s placing.
He said placings, like Dolan’s, serve as motivation to the younger kids in the wrestling program, and to those who are considering becoming a part of the wrestling program.
Prior to that, Dolan had only lost two other matches, one to Walker Carr of Carrington, and the other to Jonathan Grunefelder of Napoleon. Both of those athletes are ranked in the state.
In the 106 pound weight class, Grafton’s Hector Reyes went 0-2, being pinned by Brandon Thiel of Wahpeton and by Brandon Oien of Linton-HMB.
In the match against Thiel, it took over five minutes for Reyes to be pinned, a big accomplishment for the program to have a young wrestler perform well against an older athlete.
“He just needs some mat experience,” Larson said. “Once he gets some more, we expect big things from Hector.”
At 126, Noah Flores went 0-2, and was pinned by Dalton Jangula of Napoleon and Chaz Bauer of Carrington.
Kody Kringstad, wrestling at 152 pounds, won one of three matches at the tournament, an 8-3 win by decision over Scott Ketterling of Oakes.
“He had lost to him (Ketterling) two weeks prior in another tournament,” Larson said. “He wrestled a very smart match, and didn’t wrestle too out of control.”
Art DeLaCruz went 3-2 at the tournament at 160 pounds, winning by pins over Damon Smith of LaMoure; Kyle Bjugstad of Wahpeton; and John Meland of Sisseton, S.D. His only two losses were to Clay Jacob of Linton-HMB and Kameron McNary of Wahpeton.
“Art’s in a tough weight class,” Larson said. “Those were two good matches for him in a tough tournament.”
Jose Martinez, 170 pounds, went 0-2 at the tournament, being pinned by Zach Doty of Valley City and Seth Zink of Carrington.
Santos Reyes, Grafton’s 182 pound wrestler, won two matches at the tournament, pinning Wahpeton’s Hunter McCall at 1:42 in his first match, before falling to James Thielges of South Border. He rebounded with a 4:26 pin over Nicholas Boechler of Bismarck-St. Mary’s.
“He (Santos) was getting beat by Boechler in the third period,” Larson said. “He kept wrestling smart, had a couple of breaks, and ended up just rolling the guy and getting the win.”
Jacob Stauss, 220 pounds, won one match at the tournament, defeating Jared McCullum of Kindred by pin at 1:28. Andrew Beine of Napoleon, and Richard Rico of South Border defeated Stauss in his other two matches.
At 285 pounds, Michael Moran went 2-2 at the tournament. He was seeded seventh in the tournament.
In his first match, Moran went deep into the second period, losing to Bradee Schroeder at 3:49, before winning his next two matches, one via a bye and the other by a quick pin of Sisseton’s Casey Herberg at 19 seconds. Moran lost his last match to Dylan Claus of Lisbon.
Improvements being noticed
With the season winding down, there’s still work to be done for the Spoiler wrestlers.
“I want these seniors to accomplish their goals, whether it be ranked in state or making state,” Larson said. “If they’re happy where they’re at, then I’m happy.”
There are three athletes that are currently ranked in state.
That’s something Larson is proud of and he encourages the community to support these athletes.
“We would love to see more community members out to support our wrestling program,” he said. “It’s nice to see the massive improvements they’ve made.”
Wrestling is soon to become a sport that has success, adding to the already rich tradition Grafton High School has.
“I’m happy that we have a sport to offer opportunities to the kids not involved in the other sports,” Larson said.