State wrestling champion
Grafton celebrates school’s first wrestling champion
The buzz around the Bismarck Civic Center following last Saturday’s 145 pound weight class championship on the Class B side surrounded the Grafton Spoilers’ Jaron Lunday.
The 145-pound junior from Grafton High School had already done something remarkable, defeated previous state champion Walker Carr of Carrington in the Region 2 championship to advance to the state tournament.
Last weekend, the tough task was to now strive for success in the state tournament, a place where Lunday had been before.
“I knew I had to wrestle smart and aggressive,” the junior Spoilers wrestler said.
Last year, Lunday finished second in the state to Carr. In years prior, he had finished in the top five in the state.
Lunday, who has been wrestling since he was a third grader, started with the high school program as a seventh grader and has been progressively improving over the past several years.
In the state championship match, Lunday came out aggressively for the Spoilers.
Within the first seconds of the first period, Lunday scored a two-point takedown of Carr.
Carr was able to escape from Lunday, setting up for the dramatic end of the first period.
With Lunday taking the early advantage, both wrestlers fought for position. Neither was able to gain an advantage throughout the rest of the first period.
Both were able to secure a break when blood time was called on Lunday.
Coming out of the timeout, Lunday went for the takedown but was unsuccessful. Carr then scored almost immediately after getting out of Lunday’s grip.
In the second period things looked grim for Lunday when Carr appeared to have taken down Lunday, but the Grafton junior fought back and got through the remainder of the second period.
Lunday had choice to start the third period, choosing to start in the down position.
Both wrestlers seemed to be fatigued but Carr went to work right away and got Lunday pushed to the mat.
Lunday broke out of it and then took Carr to the mat.
With 15 seconds to go in the third period a stalemate was called, giving Lunday a much-needed break and setting up the dramatic win by decision.
“I just had to wrestle my own match,” he said. “I was wrestling smart.”
Larson said he was concerned with the switch Carr was capable of, and was nervous when the stoppage came with 15 seconds left.
“When they went back I was nervous,” Larson said. “But when five seconds came, I knew he had done it.”
After the match, Lunday sprung up from the mat, ran to his coaches, Larson and Gene Fayette, celebrating his first ever state championship.
“We’re really close,” Lunday said of his coaches. “We’re almost like family.”
Larson said had it not been for Fayette, the team would not be where they are at right now.
“He (Fayette) was here for the start of it,” he said.
The student body at Grafton High School gathered Monday morning to honor the state champion.
“I can’t say enough about our administration,” Larson said. “The community also has supported the program.”
Lunday credits his parents, Rob and Alyssa Parsons, with helping him reach the success he has been seeing in the wrestling ranks.
In the first round, Lunday defeated Nate Monk of Velva by a pin within the first minute.
The second round saw Blake Kaercher losing to Lunday by a major decision.
That win sent Lunday into the semifinals, where he wrestled against Joel Weber of South Border.
Grafton sent three other wrestlers to the state tournament this past weekend, with one wrestler coming up short of placing at the state tournament.
Michael Moran, Grafton’s lone senior wrestler, was defeated by Rode Vocu by pin at the 2:09 mark.
“It would have been nice to get Mikey a place at state being it was his senior year,” Larson said.
Hector Reyes went 1-2 at the tournament, with his only win coming by major decision, 12-0, over Darrin Vangorkom of South Border.
Shane Burns, a first year wrestler from Grafton, went 0-2, being pinned both times.
The first match he wrestled went deep into the third period, before Burns was pinned by Soren McDaniel of Lisbon at the 5:08 mark of the period.
Kyle Syverson then made quick work of Burns, pinning him in 24 seconds in the consolation round.