After two very dominant performances at the Bismarck Rotary during the past two years, the Governor wrestling program experienced a slight set-back over the weekend as they finished third behind Rapid City Stevens and Bismarck High. Stevens put together a solid team performance with ten of their wrestlers making the podium late Saturday, followed by a solid Bismark team that advanced four wrestlers to the finals, concluding with three champions. When reflecting on the value of attending a tournament like the Rotary Shawn Lewis, head coach, noted "Going to the Bismarck Rotary Tournament is a great look at a State Tournament format (2 day) and caliber tournament. We are exposed to different wrestling and officiating styles that can help us to continue to improve our craft." The Governors faced a difficult task after losing a Rapid City Invite finalist and seventh place finisher (Bench-Bresher and Browning) after the first two rounds without scoring team points. However, at the conclusion of the first day of action the Governors remained in the hunt with seven wrestlers advancing to the placing rounds with two finalists in Lincoln Turman and Michael Lusk. After early wrestle-back action on Saturday afternoon the Governors regained the lead with four of their five wrestlers earning bonus points to advance to the consolation championship matches, however solid performances by Stevens and Bismarck in the championship round extended the gap as the Governors finished with 186 points behind 192.5 for Bismarck and 211.5 from RC Stevens. "The biggest setbacks were not wrestling up to our potential and making way to many big mistakes," said assistant coach Travis Heasley. "There are some matches that I wish we would have gotten a call to go our way but we had plenty of chances in each match to win without those calls. As a team we need to have gumption and move forward."
Lincoln Turman works to turn Watertown's Mason Stoick in a cradle during his opening round match. Turman won by pin in 1:03 and finished second at the Rotary.
Lincoln Turman advanced to his third straight Rotary championship match following a pin and tech fall in the opening two rounds. In the quarterfinals he defeated Graves (Sidney) by major 9-1 and then earned the semifinal victory over Bowman (Jamestown) 3-1. In the championship match, Turman faced returning North Dakota state champion Laken Boese who scored a reversal as time expired to secure a 8-6 victory. The loss was Turman's second in the past three years as he has generated a 106-2 record since the start of his sophomore season. Michael Lusk also secured his third straight finals appearance at the Rotary beginning with pins during two opening rounds. During the Quarterfinals Lusk pined Cihak (Aberdeen) and then won by decisions 5-3 against Voorhees (RC Stevens). During the finals, Lusk squared off against current #1 ranked North Dakota wrestler Devin Steidler from Bismarck High. These two faced each other at the Rapid Invite where Steidler defeated Lusk with a 4-3 victory. The outcome would be repeated on Saturday as Lusk was hit with a second stalling call late in the third period ensuring a 4-3 victory for Steidler as opportunities for Lusk to score a late takedown failed.
Devin Steidler holds on during the closing seconds of their Championship match as Lusk attempts to score the late takedown. Lusk finished in the runner-up position.
Despite a number one seed to open the tournament, William Turman finished his final Rotary appearance with his second straight third-place finish. Turman secured bonus points for the Governors during the opening two rounds and then defeated Bitz (Bismarck Century) 9-0 to generate the major decision. In the semifinal match, Turman faced Stockman (RC Stevens) who he narrowly defeated 4-3 at the Rapid City Invite. After going 0-0 in the first three periods, Turman lost in overtime when Stockman scored a takedown as the clock expired. In the wrestle-backs Turman defeated Fleck (Mandan) 3-0 and then pinned two time Montana State Champion Reyling (Glasgow) early in the second period.
William Turman upends Levi Lang (Napoleon) during their second-round match. Turman won by fall in 4:44 and finished 3rd at the tournament.
Austin Senger elevates Thomas Scheett from Bismarck Legacy during his quarterfinal match. Senger earned the 12-4 major on his way to a third-place finish.
Maguire Raske also finished with an impressive third-place finish in a difficult 170lbs weight class. After a first-round bye, Raske won by tech fall in the second round and advanced to the semifinals with a major decision against Stoebner (Aberdeen). In the semifinals, Raske lost to #1 ranked Kost (RC Central) by fall, but earned a: 47-second pin in the wrestle-backs and then defeated Peterson (West Fargo) 5-3 to earn his best performance to date in his young career. In reflecting on the young Raske, Heasley noted "I think Raske is realizing he belongs. As a coaching staff, we have noticed his attention to detail in the room and wanting to continue to learn more. He's figuring out what works for him and sticking to the game plan. He was wrestling with the number one ranked wrestler until he made a mistake but it was a learning experience that he will not make again."
In his second round match, Maguire Raske finishes the takedown on Jacob Carmichael (Minot) and eventually earned a tech fall to advance to the quarterfinals.
Gage Gehring was the fourth Governor to advance to the consolation finals who advance there with two important first-round pins. In the quarterfinals, he fell to #1 ranked Kaylor (Legacy) and then produced a solid victory in the wrestle-backs against Wilkie (Turtle Mountain) 14-8 before pinning Thorson (Watertown) in the second period of the consolation semifinals. His path to a third-place finish was hampered with a quick takedown by Rapid City Steven's Knodell early in the sudden victory period. "Gage had a great performance this weekend," said Lewis. "He finally got rolling like we all knew he could. It was only a matter of time but it was nice to see it. Gage has a motor that doesn't stop and his improvement was due to fixing body awareness and positioning."
Gage Gehring finishes a takedown on Ryan Brink (Stevens) during the second round of action in Bismarck. He finished the match with a fall in 1:03 and generated a fourth-place finish for the Governors.
Finishing off the placers for the Governors was Hayden Shaffer who finished his first Rotary with a sixth-place finish as he continues to perform well during his rookie campaign. Shaffer won by pin in the opening round before losing a close 9-8 match against Malone (RC Stevens). However, in the wrestle-backs he earned four straight wins (three by pin) before suffering his second loss to #1 ranked Althoff (Watertown) by 5-0 decision. In the fifth-place match, he again lost to Malone by major decision 11-2. "Hayden Shaffer placing at Bismarck as an 8th grader was big. He continues to improve every time out but also to rack up bonus points," said Lewis.
Hayden Shaffer hooks up a cradle against West Fargo's Kaleb Porter in the 5th round wrestle-backs. Shaffer secured the pin in :48 and finished sixth at the tournament.
Despite not placing at the Rotary a number of other Governors were in the hunt, eventually losing one match prior to the placing round. Jack Van Camp won by fall in the opening round before losing by pin against #1 ranked Ripplinger (Bismarck). In the wrestle-backs he generated two pins before losing a 6-0 decision against #3 ranked Coyle (Watertown) After a first-round loss, Pryce Dyk generated three pins in the wrestle-backs before losing to Horner (Sidney) to end his tournament run. Cade Hinkle took a similar path as he lost by fall in the opening round but generated two pins and a major decision in the wrestle-backs before losing a 5-2 decision against Winter (Sydney) just one match short of the placing round. Garrett Leesman and Gunner Gehring each lost their opening round matches by fall, yet rebounded to return with a pin in the wrestle-backs before exiting in the second round wrestle-backs. Wrestling unattached for the Governors, both Daniel Tafoya and Tyson Johnson lost their opening match against high seeds and then both pinned their second opponent before losing in the second round of the wrestle-backs. Despite solid performances early in the season both Jace Bench-Bresher and Barry Browning struggled in the opening rounds eventually losing their first two matches and failed to generate team points for the Governors.
When reflecting on the teams performance over the two days Lewis noted " The team is still developing at this point and time. We continue to learn things about ourselves that we can and need to improve on. The thing from this weekend we learned is that every one of us has something to improve no matter what level we are at. Most of the things from this point on are mental in each person's approach to preparing for matches." The Governors will next be in action on Tuesday as they face Mitchell in their first home dual at 7:00 p.m. Then this coming Saturday they will travel to Mitchell to participate in their invitational with a combination of the top A and B teams in the state. Individual performances for the Governor wrestlers include:
- 106 - Hayden Shaffer - 6th (5-3)
- 113 - Jace Bench-Bresher - DNP (0-2)
- 120 - Lincoln Turman - 2nd (4-1)
- 120 - Daniel Tafoya - DNP (1-2)
- 126 - Jack Van Camp - DNP (3-2)
- 126 - Tyson Johnson DNP (1-2)
- 132 - William Turman - 3rd (5-1)
- 138 - Cade Hinkle - DNP (3-2)
- 145 - Michael Lusk - 2nd (4-1)
- 152 - Barry Browning - DNP (0-2)
- 160 - Austin Senger - 3rd (5-1)
- 170 - Maguire Raske - 3rd (5-1)
- 182 - Garrett Leesman - DNP (1-2)
- 195 - Gage Gehring - 3rd (5-1)
- 220 - Gunner Gehring - DNP (1-2)
- 285 - Pryce Dyk - DNP (3-2)