Seeds planted by pair

Seeds planted by pair

BISMARCK – A day of marquee wrestling matches found Rayse Clendenen and Jamie Ping as the headliners.

Clendenen, a junior at Oakwood, and Ping, a senior at Unity, were the only athletes at Bismarck-Henning's Class A regional to upend No. 1-seeded opponents in the finals.

The 135-pound Clendenen avenged a previous loss to St. Joseph-Ogden's Micki Speckman with a 9-6 decision. The 215-pound Ping dominated his weight class, winning by technical fall (20-4) in the finals.

Ping has grown accustomed to a lack of respect at tournaments.

"This is the third tournament I've won and I haven't been seeded first at any of them," Ping said.

He understands why he's underrated. Opposing coaches look at his overall record (now 25-9) without considering that six of his losses were administered by Class AA foes.

"People with the better records get the higher seeds," Ping said.

Clendenen had to recover from a 4-1 first-period deficit against Speckman.

"I try to keep thinking positive," Clendenen said.

He acknowledged that was difficult against a person who had pinned him at midseason.

"I was really thinking he would turn me," Clendenen said.

The Oakwood grappler scored all three of the third-period points, including a clinching takedown with 52 seconds remaining. He cited one factor as the key.

"I'm in better shape," he said.

Thanks to a tournament-high five individual champions, SJ-O overcame a 13 1/2-point deficit following the semifinals to edge Oakwood for team supremacy, 190 1/2-186 1/2. Last year, the Spartans captured their regional crown by 3 1/2 points.

SJ-O, which will send nine athletes to sectionals, prevailed due to the bonus points earned in the finals. Lucas Gones (145) picked up additional points with a pin. Mike Nix (130) had a technical fall while Brytt Hallowell (112) and Lukas Graves (140) each added major decisions. The Spartans' other individual champion was Lukas Allison (152).

"After the semis I told them to wake up, and sure enough they did," first-year coach Craig Acree said. "They wrestled awesome in the finals."

Gones, Unity freshman Buddy Daly (125) and Oakwood's J Sutton (189) were the regional titlists who pinned their way through their weight classes.

"I thought it would be a lot harder," said Daly, a freshman.

Sutton is one of the Comets' biggest success stories. He took up wrestling as a freshman and, for all matches, had a 2-32 record.

"I'm on the football team and guys on the team pushed me to stay with it," said Sutton, a junior who is 27-7 this season.

Unity's Dustinn Brown (119) became a four-time regional champ, following a semifinal pin with a title-match technical fall.

"I was trying to get off the mat as quick as I could to not take a chance on hurting my hand worse," said Brown, who has battled a hand injury the past month.

B-H, which had the most sectional qualifiers (11), had individual winners at the top and bottom of its lineup. Myles Mitchell (103) didn't allow a point in the finals and heavyweight Joe Aquino avenged a loss to Oakwood's Blake Warren one week earlier.

Other regional champs were Oakwood's Evan Davis (160) and Westville's Dustin Zaayer (171), who outscored his two opponents 33-10.

Categories (3):Prep Sports, Wrestling, Sports

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments