FARGO — Fargo Davies senior Truman Werremeyer walked off the mat after his 220-pound Class A championship match Friday at the Fargodome with his second consecutive state title and a shiner. He defended his title and had the battle scar to prove it.
His eye was puffy from an earlier match when a head or elbow collided with it.
“I’ll have the shiner for a week or two, but battle scars, right? It looks good,” he said.
Second-seeded Werremeyer put a bow on his perfect 22-0 season with the 9-4 decision win over top-seeded Tanner Jarrett of Dickinson (15-2). Jarrett, a senior, placed third at 182 and 195 as a sophomore and junior.
“It feels great. It’s what I’ve been working for all season,” said Werremeyer, a North Dakota State football commit. “Knowing people are gunning for me, it just feels great to go get it done.”
Werremeyer used a first-round bye, two major decisions and a decision to reach the championship match for the second year in a row. This year, it only took six minutes for Werremeyer, who placed fifth as a sophomore, to be crowned champion. Last year, his title match went into three overtimes.
“I think I had a good game plan coming in,” Werremeyer said. “I knew what he was trying to do. I knew his feel. I just think I went out there and executed the moves I needed to execute.”
Werremeyer used an early first-period takedown to set the tone. Jarrett shaved off a point with an escape 15 seconds later to make it 2-1, but Werremeyer saw an opening and executed a swift takedown as time expired to grab a 4-1 lead going into the second period.
Werremeyer fended off some shot attempts in the second period, which was scoreless until the final three seconds. Action heated up, and Werremeyer closed out the frame with a 2-point takedown. Jarrett was awarded a penalty point, but trailed 6-2 after the frame.
Intensity continued into the third. Werremeyer opened the period with an escape, and gained two penalty points as he rolled to the 9-4 decision win.
Wahpeton's Krump triumphs for first title
Wahpeton senior Josh Krump raised his hands in triumph. He edged West Fargo’s KC Ortiz in a 3-2 decision to win his first-ever state title (285), and was living out his lifelong dream of becoming a state champion.
The road to the top of the podium wasn’t easy for Krump. He took second as a sophomore, but was hindered by injury last year.
“I fell off the top. I did,” Krump said. “I had trouble getting back up there. It just goes to prove, no matter how far you are, rock bottom is a solid (foundation) to grow on.”
He worked tirelessly to get back to where he was before he got injured. That drive helped him push through a third period that felt like it lasted “days.”
After a scoreless first period, Ortiz struck first with an escape point midway through the second. Krump was down 1-0 going into the final frame, but came out hot with a quick 2-point reversal and bonus penalty point.
The only thing running through Krump’s mind was he had to keep moving.
Ortiz, who took fifth last year, added an escape, but Krump (11-0) was able to fend off the West Fargo senior (17-1), who had previously been undefeated.
Krump didn’t have the words to explain how the moment felt, but he didn’t need to. His animated reaction said it all.
Grebel rebounds from runner-up finish to become a champion
Koye Grebel didn’t know if he’d ever get here. He came up short in the state title match last year, a devastating blow to the Valley City sophomore whose pursuit of perfection has taken him far.
Grebel knows what it’s like to walk off the mat after a championship match and be the runner-up. Now, he knows what it’s like to leave a champion.
With sweat dripping off his face, Grebel (28-0) won the 106-pound state title by tech fall over Devils Lake’s William Sprenger (11-4).
“It feels good. It’s what we train for,” Grebel said. “I'm just glad that I was able to get here. It's all for the blessings of God and it's a blessing.”
Grebel didn’t break out in boisterous celebration. Two minutes after the match, it still hadn’t hit him, but it did his teammates and coaches, who were waiting to embrace him in the corner.
Grebel opened the match with four first-period takedowns. Sprenger notched three escapes to cut Grebel’s lead heading into the second period to 8-3.
Grebel generated six points from a penalty, reversal and 3-point nearfall for a comfortable 14-3 lead to end the second frame. Sprenger added a point on an escape in the third period, but Grebel had a pair of takedowns and a 2-point nearfall to sprint to the finish line.
Fargo South's Thomas repeats
After Fargo South senior Jacob Thomas won his first-ever state title at 132 last year, he immediately got back to work. He was determined to make a run for it as a senior.
That dream became reality when he became a two-time state champion Friday with a 7-3 decision over William Lengenfelder of Bismarck St. Mary’s.
“We worked even harder for this one,” said Thomas, who bumped up to 145 this year. “It was my last high school match, so it feels great.”
Less than a minute after the buzzer sounded in the 145-pound state title match, Thomas ran to his family and friends, who were in the first row at the Fargodome. He jumped over the railing to see his cheering section, who had supported him on the mat since he was four.
Thomas (21-0) had just finished a grueling championship match against Lengenfelder. He was bleeding from a couple scratches he got in the match. He credits the intensity for carrying him to the win.
“That makes it get even more intense,” Thomas said. “My blood is flowing. It makes the match even better.”
Thomas, a four-time state placer, broke a 0-0 deadlock in the second period with a quick six points on an escape, takedown and 3-point nearfall. He added a penalty point in the third to seal his win. Lengenfelder’s three points came from two escapes and a penalty.
“Every time he was shooting on me, my hips are really good, so I was looking for that throw,” Thomas said. “Got him once there, but that won the match, so. Worked out great.”
Seven Demons win state titles
Bismarck High brought eight wrestlers to the finals, and got state titles from seven of them. The Demons, who accounted for half of the Class A individual state champions, won the individual team title with 313.5 points, more than 100 points ahead of second-place Bismarck Century (210).
Bismarck got titles from three juniors — Kaden Renner (160), Brock Fettig (170) and Isaiah Huus (195). Fettig faced teammate Ben Nagel in the 170-pound championship match.
Twin brothers Christian (113) and Wilfried Tanefeu (120) were too much for any North Dakotan to handle for the second year in a row, both capping back-to-back undefeated runs with their third consecutive state titles.
Senior Brandt Kringlie (182) and now two-time state champion freshman LJ Araujo (126) rounded out Bismarck’s titles.
Three West wrestlers accounted for the remaining bouts. Reece Barnhardt (132) of Bismarck St. Mary's won his fourth state title, while Dickinson's Troy Berg (152) and Bismarck Century's Clay Radenz (138) repeated as state champs.