FARGO — Jacob Thomas was close to a state title two years ago, earning the runner-up spot as a freshman. He took fourth as a sophomore, and now, he’s ending his junior season a state champion.
From Fargo South and the top seed at 132 pounds, a state title is no longer just at Thomas’ fingertips following the final day of the Class A individual state wrestling tournament at the Fargodome.
Thomas got a takedown and two back points as time expired to secure an 18-3 tech fall over No. 2 seed Kaden Renner of Bismarck High, who won at least 17 in a row heading into the matchup.
“It’s crazy,” Thomas said. “It doesn’t feel like anything I’ve ever felt before.”
When Thomas stepped off the podium where he received his first-place plaque, he ran to his dad.
“He’s so happy,” Thomas said of his dad, who wrestled for Fargo North. “He was never a state champ, he always took second. It’s awesome.”
Thomas nabbed the lone state title for the Bruins, who finished at No. 12 in team scores.
“I bet it feels good for my coaches, they work hard coaching me,” Thomas said.
Fellow Bruin Isaiah Gates grabbed second place in the heavyweight bout.
Larson celebrates 1st championship with family in corner
Parker Larson had been training for this moment since he was a little kid. Born into a wrestling family with a brother and father who were standouts in the sport, he’s always imagined himself where he was Saturday — at the top of the state tournament podium.
The 160-pound senior from Valley City built up a four-point lead going into the third period, and stretched it with a takedown in the final 13 seconds to grab the 10-3 decision over Chase Burke of Minot.
“I’m on cloud nine,” Larson said. “My brother was a state champion, my dad was a state champ, and they were both in my corner. To do it not only for myself, but for them, is a great feeling.”
After placing third a year ago, Larson knew he wanted to finish out his high school career on top.
“Me and my brother went to the gym every single day, we were in there working and training,” Larson said. “All that paid off in the end.”
Conditioning carries Werremeyer through
Truman Werremeyer could hardly catch his breath after he won his first state title Saturday. He had just drained any ounce of energy he had in his 220-pound title match that was pushed into three overtimes.
Tied at 1-1 when the third period expired, the match against No. 3 seed Ben Anderson of West Fargo quickly stretched to a third round of overtime.
Werremeyer, who chose to be in the bottom position entering the final round, managed to escape in the final 15 seconds to edge Anderson by a 2-1 decision.
“I was just thinking, I’ve gotta trust my conditioning,” Werremeyer said. “I know I’ve worked hard for this all year, and I know I can just take it to him.
“Ben wrestled great. He’s gotten better every time we’ve wrestled this whole year,” Werremeyer said. “I’m tired, but I’m just glad I was able to pull it out, outwork him and get it right at the end.”
Werremeyer has come a long way over the course of a year, bumping himself up four state places.
“I think it shows how much time I’ve worked in the weight room, and how much work that goes into each season. It just feels amazing,” he said.
Connor Chloupek of Davies grabbed a runner-up finish at 170.
In another overtime battle, Shane Kennedy, the first-ever West Fargo Sheyenne Mustang to make it to the finals, pulled himself ahead with 30 seconds to go in the third after trailing Minot’s Jacob Carmichael 7-4 at the start. Carmichael quickly evened it up on an escape, and won the 195-pound title on a takedown 17 seconds into overtime.
Five Demons win state titles
The Demons, who finished with the highest team score at 250, took the most kids to the finals (7).
Bismarck's Christian and Wilfried Tanefeu were too much for any North Dakotan to handle this season, and capped their undefeated run against in-state opponents Saturday. Christian won at 113, and Wilfried at 120.
LJ Araujo of Bismarck edged Valley City’s Koye Grebel in a 3-2 decision. Isaiah Huus pinned his way to a state championship at 185 to round out Bismarck’s titles.
No. 3 Noah Braun of Jamestown had the biggest upset of the day at 152 over No. 1 Brock Fettig of Bismarck. Braun extended his lead on a three-point nearfall in the last 16 seconds to get the upset by decision, 8-3.
At 145, Troy Berg pinned undefeated Drew Steidler of Bismarck St. Mary’s, Dickinson’s first individual title since 2007.
Reece Barnhardt of St. Mary’s left the Fargodome a three-time state champion (126).
Bismarck Century got a win through Clay Radenz at 138.