Class B Wrestling Roundup: Bowman County-Beach wrestlers primed for tournament runs
On Valentine's Day weekend, wrestling teams from across the state will flock to Fargo, concluding the 2018-19 season with the state individual and dual tournaments. For the third consecutive year, the Bowman County-Beach wrestling team will parti...
On Valentine's Day weekend, wrestling teams from across the state will flock to Fargo, concluding the 2018-19 season with the state individual and dual tournaments. For the third consecutive year, the Bowman County-Beach wrestling team will participate in both competitions.
The Buccadawgs earned their chance to compete for a state dual title after finishing second to New Salem-Almont at the Region 4 Dual Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 2.
"We've been practicing real hard this week," Buccadawgs head coach Jeff Boynton said. "We're just basically working on a lot of technique, not a lot of live wrestling, but a lot of technique and drilling; just trying to get them all prepared for the next couple of weeks,"
With the state dual seeding announced on Thursday, unranked Bowman County-Beach learned that it will face top-seeded Lisbon in the quarterfinals. Voted on by the coaches, Boynton had hopes of being selected as a No. 4 or 5 seed. While the Broncos present a daunting challenge, the Buccadawgs head coach likes his team's chances.
"Going through the lineup with Lisbon, we match up with them pretty decent," Boynton said. "Some of those big matches, you make sure they go your way and not theirs. ... We've been in this situation before, and basically what I tell them is that 'We're 0-0 right now, so step in there, wrestle to the best of your capabilities and whatever happens at the end of the dual happens.'"
Boynton points to matches at 132 and 160 pounds as critical ones that could determine the victor. At 132 pounds, Broncos sophomore Simon Sveum will likely be slotted against Buccadawgs sophomore Tucker Strand, while at the 160-pound weight class, Bowman County-Beach senior Jacob Ruggles and Lisbon sophomore Jaden Schmidt could be slated for a potential battle.
Regardless of what the matchups are, the underdogs believe anyone can be beaten on a given day, and that starts with teammates remaining engaged even when they are off the mat.
"In the dual, it's a very different atmosphere from an individual tournament," Bowman County-Beach senior Beau Jeffers said. "Every one of your guys competes back-to-back-to-back, and you all are there supporting and creating an atmosphere where you are pushing each other and making sure everyone is wrestling their best."
Before the Buccadawgs head off the Fargo, the team will travel to Hettinger for the Region 4 Individual Tournament on Saturday. With seeding also announced on Thursday, Bowman County had nine wrestlers chosen as either a No. 1 or 2 seed.
Out of the 220-pound weight class, Jeffers is not only the top-seeded wrestler for the Region 4 tournament, but he's also the top-ranked wrestler in his division.
"It's a pretty good feeling knowing that I'm the one that kids will be looking to beat," Jeffers said. "I'm that one that they come out on the mat and they give it their all (against) cause they have nothing to lose against me. It pushes me to always make sure I wrestle my best and don't slack off cause anyone can be beaten. The seeding doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot ... Anyone can be beaten at any time."
Jeffers is one year removed from a 7th-place state finish at 195 pounds.
The top-four finishers in each weight class during the regional individual tournament earn a spot at state; Boynton hopes at least 12 of his wrestlers can punch their ticket to the big dance.
Another senior looking to qualify is Alex Madrigal. At 120 pounds, Madrigal, the No. 5 grappler in his division, has only competed in seven matches this season after returning from a torn MCL.
"It hurts now, but I have to fight through it. It's the only option I have, or else I'll be done for the season," Madrigal remarked on wrestling following the injury. "I feel like I'm a lot slower now. I can't move the leg as much or twist it, so I've got to slow down my pace."
Selected as the No. 2 seed in the regional individual meet, Madrigal says his aim is to make it to the finals and defeat New Salem-Almont junior Clay Gerhardt, the tournament's top-seed and the top-ranked wrestler in the division. From there, the senior is looking to cap his career with a state championship after finishing the last two years as a state runner-up.
"My goal is to be a state champion," Madrigal said. "I'm tired of being second."