N.D. Wrestling: Roberts wins title, fulfills his promise
FARGO - With his mother in declining health, Josh Roberts made her a promise last fall. Betty Roberts died in November. On Saturday, Josh Roberts fulfilled that promise. The Grand Forks Central junior won a championship at the North Dakota Class ...
FARGO - With his mother in declining health, Josh Roberts made her a promise last fall.
Betty Roberts died in November. On Saturday, Josh Roberts fulfilled that promise. The Grand Forks Central junior won a championship at the North Dakota Class A high school wrestling tournament.
Roberts edged Grand Forks Red River's Jayden Richter 5-2 in the 130-pound final. He was one of four Grand Forks individual champions, with Central's Andrew Kennedy at 285 pounds and Red River's Steve Klamm at 125 and Luke Schieve at 215 also taking titles. All four Grand Forks champions took second seeds into state.
"I dedicated this season to my mother," Roberts said. "Before she passed away, I told her I was going to win it for her. No way I was going to let her down.
"We were close. She was always there for me. It's been kind of a hard season. I wasn't emotionally there all the time. To try to pick up the pieces - it was hard."
Turning the tables
Roberts had been ranked first for most of the season at 130. But Richter edged him in the season's final regular-season dual, and beat Roberts again in the East Region tournament final to gain the No. 1 seed at state.
The two were scoreless until Roberts scored one on an escape with 21 seconds left in the second period. After Richter escaped to start the third to tie the score, Roberts got another takedown with 1:24 remaining and led the rest of the way.
"(Richter) is a competitor," Roberts said. "He likes to keep his head in close on me. I had to push him off and work to frustrate him so I could shoot and get my takedowns.
"I've thought what's the one thing my mom would be proud of. And I know that, if I won here, nobody would be prouder than her."
Fast and furious
Both Klamm and Schieve made quick work of their opponents.
Klamm beat top-seeded Daron Hohbein of Mandan on a pin at 51 seconds. Klamm made one quick move for the takedown and the pin.
"I'm very surprised it was that quick," Klamm said. "No way I thought it would be that fast. He shot in too far and got off balance. I was able to get him around the neck.
"I wrestled differently than I usually do - I wasn't terribly nervous. I'm usually more nervous."
Schieve made a habit of short matches at state. He pinned top seed Ryan Kamrowski of Minot with two seconds left in the first period of the final after falling behind early. Schieve was 4-0 in the tournament, winning all four with first-period pins.
"I don't like going into the second period. It's tiring," the 6-foot-7 Schieve said, smiling. "It's not always that easy, though.
"I have a very unique style because of my height. I was on the bottom, but I always seem to sneak out of those situations and, with my long arms, I can get on a pretty tight grip."
The waiting game
Kennedy also beat the No. 1 seed, edging Fargo South's Jake Bruns 4-1.
Kennedy went ahead 2-0 with a reversal with 43 seconds left in the second period and rode Bruns for 96 straight seconds. After Bruns got a third-period escape, another Kennedy takedown with 26 seconds to go iced the win.
"I think I wore him down when I was riding him," Kennedy said. "At the end, he seemed tired. He couldn't do what he usually tries to do."
Red River's Jake Cooley was a runner-up at 145, never leading in dropping a 5-3 decision to repeat state champion Luke Mellmer of Dickinson. One other area player was a runner-up, as Devils Lake junior Sean Ballard lost 10-7 to top-seeded Tyler Johnson of Bismarck in the 152 final. It was the second straight second-place finish at state for Ballard.
Wahpeton won the team title, scoring 164 points to edge Bismarck by four. Red River was fifth with 125 points, with Central scoring 92 to finish 11th and Devils Lake finishing 15th with 44 points.