PREP WRESTLING: Grafton gets its first state wrestling champion
BISMARCK — Bradyn Horgan has become a third-generation state wrestling champion. And Grafton has its first state wrestling champion.
Horgan of Pembina County North, Jaron Lunday of Grafton and Luke Hastings of Hillsboro-Central Valley were area athletes who picked up titles Saturday on the final day of the North Dakota Class B high school wrestling tournament.
Horgan joined grandfather Danny Horgan (1973) and his father and coach, Shon Horgan (1990), as state wrestling champions.
“It’s amazing, a dream come true,’’ Shon Horgan said. “To the best of my knowledge, this has never happened before in the state.
“No question, it was (more satisfying) seeing my kid win. Every parent wants to see your child do well. If I had to, I would have given up my championship for him to get one. This is so much more special. At that age, he’s better than I was, absolutely.’’
Horgan scored a 12-2 win against Josh Schlosser of Linton in the 120-pound final. The Pembina County North sophomore took control early.
“Bradyn wrestled really well,’’ Shon Horgan said. “He just kept going and going. At one point, I was thinking he should sit back a little and hang onto his lead. But he kept pressing and getting more points.’’
Danny Horgan was in the stands watching in addition to Shon Horgan being on the sideline. “It’s pretty cool, having three generations (of state champions),’’ Bradyn Horgan said.
Lunday rallies to win
Jaron Lunday had a nail-biter on the way to Grafton’s first state wrestling title.
The junior broke a 3-3 tie with a reversal in the final minute and hung on to beat Carrington’s Walker Carr 5-3 in the 145-pound final.
Lunday has improved his state place every season, from sixth to fifth to third to second a year ago, when he took the No. 1 seed into state.
“Last year I was pretty nervous,’’ Lunday said. “This year I knew that I just had to stay calm. We’ve never had (a state champion) before. It’s setting a milestone for myself and our program.’’
Even though Lunday was the No. 1 seed, Carr was a returning state champion.
“It wasn’t a given for Jaron,’’ Grafton coach Brad Larson said.
“It’s pretty exciting for our relatively new program. It’s no surprise that he’s our first champion. Jaron has put so much work into wrestling. He’s done the stuff that’s needed to get better. It’s nice to see good things happen to a good kid.’’
Fast ascent for Hastings
Hastings, a freshman, became the Burros’ first state champion since Tanner Boeddeker in 2010 when he pinned Andy Nolz of South Border at 2:40 in the 126-pound final.
Nolz was the top seed. Hastings, seeded third, beat No. 2 Joe Bakke of Carrington in the semifinal round. It was Hastings’ first career win against Bakke. Against Nolz, he built a 5-2 lead before putting away the title with a pin.
Hastings was a state qualifier each of the past two seasons, but never placed.
“This doesn’t happen very often,’’ H-CV coach Dustin Nagel said. “Usually there’s a progression, from qualifying, then placing, then maybe winning at state. But Luke had an awesome tournament. He had some nice moves and he out-worked his opponents. He did what he had to do.
“It’s not really a surprise to us that he won. He has all the tools.’’
Other area placers
These area wrestlers also gained top-eight places:
Pembina County North: Brett Verville, second, 113; Tyson Lafferty, second, 285; Jesse Schurman, third, 170; Michael Lafferty, third, 195; Jeff Stith, third, 220; Raphael Schill, eighth, 126; Blake Kaercher, eighth, 145. Schumer recorded his 100th career pin during the tournament.
Larimore: Spencer Sweeney, sixth, 106.
Northern Lights: Joel Gailfus, seventh, 152; Tanner Langen, seventh, 170.
Hillsboro-Central Valley: Jordan Bolstad, third, 160; Brady Siebels, sixth, 285; Wyatt Schultz, sixth, 195.
Mayville-Portland-CG: Logan Elliott, eighth, 170; Josh Gapp, eighth, 220.
South Border won the team title with 182 points, followed by Carrington (172.5), Lisbon (160.5) and Pembina County North (150). Hillsboro-Central Valley also was in the top 10, scoring 77 points to place 10th.
Lisbon wrestler sets mark
All Lisbon’s Dylan Urbach wanted to accomplish this season was winning another state championship.
However, entering the 160-pound state championship match, Urbach was tied with former South Border standout Blake Bosch with 240 all-time wins.
When the 160-pound state championship match was over, Urbach defeated Brayden Kuntz of South Border in a 6-1 decision and stood alone as the Class B all-time wins leader with 241.
“It was in the back of mind,” said Urbach, who finished his senior season with a 48-1 record and was named Class B senior athlete of the year. “I just wanted to win another state championship. It feels pretty good getting that.
“Blake is one of my best friends. We’ve wrestled against each other since the seventh-grade. I really never thought about this tournament.”
Urbach said it was emotional winning his second state championship, but the tears didn’t start flowing until his wrestling partner and cousin Joe Nelson won first state title for Lisbon at 170 pounds.
Nelson, who beat Oakes senior Cole Ehrlin in a 15-4 major decision, said he wouldn’t have stood at the top of the podium without the help from Urbach.
“I’m told that champions come in pairs and I have one of the best practice partners ever,” Nelson said with a smile. “I worked him every day and got better.
“It was something special. I’ve worked with Dylan for 12 years now. To be seniors and win championships together is great.”
South Border hangs on
Once Tyler Toepke-Floyd went down in the 106 match of the finals, South Border co-head coach Dwight Schilling was a little worried.
And it was for a good season.
“I don’t know what happened to our other kids,” he said. “I don’t know if they were nervous. We weren’t moving. They just weren’t there.
“It just didn’t start out right in the beginning and it just never quit.”
The Mustangs proceeded to drop all six of their finals matches. However, South Border scored 182 points and managed to hold off Carrington to win its second straight Class B title. The Cardinals ended with 172.5 points.
“The team championship is awesome,” said Schilling, who also named along with other South Border co-head coach Josh Hoffman as Class B coaches of the year. “We kind of had Carrington picked to win this and the dual championship. These kids wrestled their hearts out. If they wouldn’t have, we wouldn’t have won.”
Andy Nolz (126), Kuntz (160), Trevor Meidinger (182), Tucker Meidinger (195) and Thielges (220) all came in runner-up for the Mustangs. Hillsboro-Central Valley freshman Luke Hastings pinned Nolz in 2:40.
South Border ended with nine state placers and none finished lower than sixth. The Mustang’s placers were six runner-ups, one third, one fourth and one fifth.