ST.JOSEPH — Winning 100 matches in a high school wrestling career is a big accomplishment. To do as a junior is even more remarkable.
Junior Jarod Noel of Bismarck-Henning did just that, taking the regional title in the 170 pound division at the Class 1A Regional on Saturday afternoon at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.
Noel, who came in as the top seed in the weight class, caught a bit of a break, when the next best wrestler in the division sustained a finger injury and had to forfeit the remainder of his matches.
“The 100 wins is nice, but I’m more proud of the fact that I won the regional and am moving on to sectionals”, Noel said of his accomplishment.
Another area wrestler, Antonio Alvarez of Oakwood /Armstrong-Potomac, captured his third straight regional title at the 132 weight class, but Alvarez’s road to the title was much different than that of Noel’s.
“I had been sidelined with a hip flexor injury for the past few weeks and just got back into wrestling five days ago,” Alvarez said. “I am not in very good shape right now, but the fact that I’m moving onto sectionals will give me the opportunity to get my conditioning back.”
In all, eight area wrestlers qualified for the sectionals, those being Noel (170), Davin Huber (126), Gage Foster (138), Tyler Pasley (152) and Jesse Jennings (285), all of Bismarck-Henning, while Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac sent three on to sectional play, Alvarez (132), Austin Shelton (145) and Gevin Ashikyan (285).
Blue Devils coach Andy Head, obviously pleased with the results his team put forth, gave his senior Huber a lot of praise for the third place finish.
“Davin kind of rolled around against the first couple of opponents, and faced a really tough kid in the finals,” Head remarked.
In the 285 pound division, Comets junior Gevin Ashikyan matched up against a very tough opponent in Josh Wallick of Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher, currently the top ranked wrestler in the class, according to the illinoismatmen.com website. However, Ashikyan fought tooth and nail with his opponent during the match, going the distance and losing by a 5-0 decision.
Also in the 285 pound class, Bismarck-Henning junior Jesse Jennings took third place, getting his opponent to take a fall at 2:50 of the match.
“I just want to concentrate on getting better and work on my skills and maybe see some new and old opponents as I advance on to sectional,” Jennings said. Jennings was defeated by Ashikyan, who then moved into the championship match against Wallick.
The top three wrestlers in each class will advance to the sectional, which will be held next Saturday, February 15th, at Olympia High School in Stanford.
Jim Cotter is a freelance writer for the Commercial-News, and can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org