By Tyler Shoberg
Fargo's annual Rumble on the Red wrestling tournament has historically been a highly competitive venue. Boasting 60 teams from as far away as Alaska, the two-day brouhaha also can be a litmus test for teams as they continue with their seasons.
For West Fargo, in particular, those test results may point to big things in the not-too-distant future.
As a team, the Packers (3-0 Eastern Dakota Conference, 8-0 overall) finished third overall Friday with 186 points. It's their best finish ever at the tournament, and a six-spot improvement from last season.
Not only did West Fargo finish well as a team, but it also boasted three individual champions.
Jordan Shearer (21-1) hit the podium first for the Packers after charging to the 113-pound title match in dominant fashion with a pin and three straight major-decision victories. In the championship round, Shearer faced junior Tristan Manderfield (15-1) of Foley, Minn.
While age may have been on his opponent's side, Shearer, a returning two-time state champion, dominated the round despite the 3-2 score.
Manderfield jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the first period with an escape. But a takedown shortly thereafter gave Shearer a 2-1 edge. He then answered a Maderfield escape with one of his own, and held on for the one-point victory.
Directly following Shearer's match was West Fargo's next title bout and subsequent win.
At 120 pounds, junior Trevor Kringlie (18-2) battled Robert Lee (18-1), a freshman from Kaukauna, Wisc. An All-Conference selection last season, Kringlie got to an early 4-1 lead in the match and nearly pinned his foe in the final seconds of the third period. But Lee wriggled loose for the escape and the point.
It was not enough, however, and Kringlie chalked up the win and West Fargo's second individual title.
A few weight classes later, and it was Preston Lehmann's turn in the spotlight. The West Fargo junior proved why he currently is ranked 12th in the nation at 182 pounds by USA Wrestling. Lehmann (22-1) jumped to an early 2-0 lead over Clayton Jennissen (17-3), a senior from Cambridge-Istanti in Minnesota.
Lehmann budged little through the three periods, and only relinquished one point to an escape in the second period and another in the third.
A near-fall in the final seconds of the last period brought Lehmann's lead to 9-2, and a takedown a short while later sealed the 11-2 title win.
While the Packers picked up three individual titles, they also had quite a few other placers that picked up valuable points.
The next highest placer was sophomore Anjelo Shepherd, who finished fourth at 138 pounds. Shepherd (21-5) seemed to have the edge over Ben Donnelly, a 14-3 freshman from Woodbury, Minn.
But somehow Shepherd found himself on his back, and Donnelly got the pin and the win with less than 30 seconds remaining in the second period.
The rest of West Fargo's placers finished in eighth in the respective weight classes, and included Jesse Shearer at 106 pounds, Kollin Kragnes at 126 pounds, and Weston Dobler at 132 pounds.
The Packers were scheduled to host No. 2 Grand Forks Central (3-0, 7-2) in a dual Tuesday, but results were unavailable by the time the Pioneer went to press. West Fargo will head west for the two-day Bismarck Rotary, beginning Friday.