Spoilers send seven to state tourney
Jaron Lunday ranked first in his weight class
The Grafton Spoilers wrestling team will send its largest contingent of athletes to-date to the state tournament as a result of their performances Saturday at the North Dakota Class B Region 2 Individual Wrestling Tournament held in Walhalla.
The Spoilers qualified seven wrestlers and earned their highest place as a team, fourth, at Saturday’s event. The Spoilers also crowned their first Region 2 individual champion in Jaron Lunday, who placed first in the 138-pound weight class. Lunday will be the first Grafton wrestler to be ranked number one in his weight class when the Spoilers compete at the North Dakota Class B Wrestling Tournament which starts Thursday at the Fargodome.
“I was very happy overall with our performances,” Grafton coach Brad Larson said.
Lunday has been battling a pulled muscle and hadn’t wrestled since early January.
He shook off the rust quickly Saturday by pinning Hillsboro’s Zach Iverson at the 53 second mark of the first period in his opening round match. Lunday advanced to the championship with a 15-0 technical fall over Gabe Schill of Pembina Co. North (PCN) one minute into the third period.
In the championship, Lunday defeated Wyatt Morten of Larimore via an 8-1 decision. Morten (22-3) is the number two seed at state at 138.
“I was a little concerned with how rusty he might be, but he came out with a pin right away and beat a tough wrestler from (PCN),” Larson said. “(In the championship) he was in control all the way. He dominated all day and I was a little surprised after he was off for so long.”
According to Larson, the Spoilers qualified all four of their seniors, Travis Dolan, Kody Kringstad, Arturo DeLaCruz and Santos Reyes.
Dolan lost a 2-1 decision to Camron Flick of Central Cass in the opening round, but then after a bye and a 3-2 decision over second ranked Christian Feldmann of Larimore, Dolan met Flick again for third place and scored an 8-5 win.
“That one was close,” Larson said. “The match was tied at 5-5, but Travis got an escape and a takedown in the last 10 seconds to pull it out.”
Dolan will have the number eight seed at 132 pounds at state.
Along with Lunday and Dolan, Kringstad is making a return trip to state after he placed third at 160 pounds.
Kringstad’s lone loss was a pin at the hands of Cullen Blair of PCN. Kringstad’s three wins came as the result of pins. He beat Walter Lawson of Larimore at 1:05; Jeric Houdek of MayPort-CG at 3:13; and Kyle Cote of Central Cass at :48.
Arturo DeLaCruz is heading back to state after missing out last year. DeLaCruz qualified as a sophomore in 2011, but didn’t make it last year.
DeLaCruz went 3-1 on Saturday to place third. His lone loss was a 7-3 decision to Seth Zink of Carrington. His wins included a 6-0 decision over Landon Littlefield of Harvey-Wells County; a pin at 2:27 over Brandon Steffen of Larimore and a sudden-victory, 4-2 decision over Dakota Radcliffe of Central Cass.
Senior Santos Reyes went 3-1 at 182 pounds to finish third. His lone loss was to Mathew Totay of Central Cass who scored a pin at 1:24 of the first period.
Reyes pinned Alex Dearinger of PCN at 4:20; pinned Sam Schultz of Hillsboro at 4:57; and won a sudden-victory 11-9 decision in dramatic fashion over Alex Kleven of MayPort-CG.
“Santos probably had the most exciting matches of anyone. At some point, he was down by five points in every single match,” Larson said.
Two underclassmen, Jacob Stauss and Michael Moran will be making their first trips to state.
Staus, a sophomore, went 2-2 to place fourth at 220. His wins included a 4-0 decision over Jake Copenhaver of Carrington and a pin at 3:03 over Dillon Knudson of Central Cass.
Moran, a junior, went 3-1 at 285 to place third. Moran’s loss was a pin at 1:38 to Tyson Lafferty of PCN.
Moran made quick work of his other three opponents pinning Kyle Ueland of Central Cass at :24; Nathan Erickson of MayPort-CG at :20; and Sam Waters of Hillsboro at :50.
Five other Spoilers missed out on a state tournament berth, but gained Grafton some valuable team points. At 106, Hector Reyes went 1-3 to earn six points. Noah Flores went 1-3 at 126, good for sixth place and five team points.
At 145, Jose Martinez went 2-2 and took fifth place, good for eight points. Joshua Thompson took fifth place at 152, going 2-2 for seven points.
Jose (JC) Martinez went 1-3 at 195, good for sixth place and three team points.
“I told the guys we had a really good (region) tournament, but we’re not done yet,” he said. “We want to have as many guys as we can wrestling on Saturday.”