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West Fargo's Franek eyeing one final national title at USA wrestling tournament

Former West Fargo High School wrestler Jared Franek faced Will Lewan of Illinois during the USA Wrestling tournament last July at the Fargodome. Lewan won the 152-pound weight class championship. Forum file photo1 / 2
Former West Fargo High School wrestler Jared Franek won four North Dakota Class A state championships with the Packers. Forum file photo2 / 2

West Fargo

West Fargo High School graduate Jared Franek won four wrestling North Dakota Class A state titles at the Fargodome. He also rushed for three touchdowns to help lead the Packers to a Class 3A state football championship at the Fargodome in November.

"It's not too overwhelming since I've been in that dome so many times for football and wrestling," Franek said. "The big stage I'm not really afraid of."

He's most likely got one more performance left at the Fargodome. Franek will be wrestling in the USA Wrestling Junior and Cadet National Championships next week for the fourth and final time.

Franek has one more thing he'd like to add to his wrestling resume before he heads to North Dakota State. He's looking for a Junior freestyle title, after losing in the championship last year.

"It's bittersweet," Franek said. "I'm excited what college is going to bring, but I'm hoping to cap it off with another Fargo title."

Franek finished seventh and won a title in Cadet freestyle before losing in the Junior freestyle championship last season at 152 pounds 6-2.

"It was a bad feeling," Franek said. "That was the main thing I used as motivation this year. I want to get to the top of the podium. I learned you gotta wrestle hard every match. It's a tough few days there and you can't take anyone lightly."

Franek's resume is already pretty full. No wrestler in North Dakota history has more wins in high school than Franek. His pin in this season's Class A state championship at 160 pounds was the 268th victory of his career. He finished 54-1 in his senior season, topping former West Fargo teammate Jordan Shearer's 259 career victories along the way.

Franek took a few weeks off after the high school wrestling season before he went into the wrestling room three or four days a week with NDSU.

"Everybody is a lot tougher, hand fighting is next-level stuff," Franek said. "You gotta take your beatings when you go in there. It's a different style.

"It's something you can't get better at in a week, so I have to work at it throughout the weeks and months. I have to pick up the little things the guys and coaches are showing me. It's about experience."

Franek joins former West Fargo teammate Brandon Metz on the NDSU wrestling team. He's wrestled with Metz since second grade.

"We grew up together, so it's cool to be with him again," Franek said. "He sent me a text right away after I verbally committed and said he's excited."

Franek began wrestling in kindergarten. His dad and two brothers all wrestled. He actually didn't like wrestling at first, but the competitiveness kept bringing him back.

"The fact that you're out there by yourself, going against one other guy, no one to count on or blame for winning or losing, I kind of like that," Franek said.

He'll be on the mat at 160 pounds in the Junior freestyle tournament Sunday with hopes he's wrestling in Tuesday's championship match.

He gives up anything salty when he's training. That includes pizza. He's hoping to celebrate a national title Tuesday night with some pizza.

"Anything will taste good after that," Franek said.

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.

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