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Western Edge wrestlers triumph at State Tournaments

Mar. 20—DICKINSON — The passion for wrestling runs deep on the Western Edge of North Dakota, echoing through the halls of high schools and resonating within the Glaser and Bohmbach families. This fervor found its peak at the North Dakota State Class A and Class B Wrestling Championships, where two remarkable area athletes etched their names into the annals of local wrestling history.

Jake Glaser, a sophomore from Dickinson High School, and Gus Bohmbach, a senior from Killdeer High School, emerged as champions in their respective weight classes. As the dust settled on the mats of the Fargodome, Glaser and Bohmbach's triumphs shone as beacons of the culmination of years of dedication and determination, overcoming obstacles both on and off the mat.

JAKE GLASER, 107 lb CHAMPION

Glaser, known for his friendly demeanor and modest smile in conversation, becomes a fierce competitor on the mats. His combination of wit and strength played a crucial role in winning the Class-A 107 lb weight class championship. A sophomore, Jake has been refining his wrestling skills since he was four years old, training alongside his brothers, Gage and Max Glaser.

Last year, Glaser secured third place at the state championships, an impressive feat for the then Freshman. However, he always aimed for the highest honor of standing atop the podium come season's end. Through dedication, discipline and the support from his coaches, family and teammates — including his brothers — he overcame obstacles to reach his goal.

Gage Glaser, Jake's older brother, served as the senior captain for the Midgets this season and has been a lifelong source of inspiration and leadership for Jake. Since middle school, Jake has wrestled alongside Gage, constantly working to reach his brother's level of skill and commitment.

"It's great to have an older brother to look up to like Gage. I have been wrestling with him since middle school and have been in the room with him every year. He has always been better than me, which always gave me something to push towards. And Max, I have always had a practice partner. He has helped me every single step of the way and it is really awesome to have a brother like that."

Throughout the year, Jake competed in the 114 weight class but chose to move down to 107 for the postseason. This strategic decision stemmed from his belief that his experience in the 114 class and his state ranking would make him a formidable competitor at 107. The primary challenges he faced were the weight reduction and competing in the same weight class as his brother Max.

Jake's commitment showcased the level of dedication necessary to achieve championship status. Despite considering himself a light 114, the allure of water fountains and sugary snacks remained strong. He limited himself to 10 to 15 ounces of water per meal, a disciplined approach that was essential for cutting the weight required to compete for the highly sought-after state title.

"What helps me stay disciplined is just knowing what I am doing it for," Jake emphasized. "That I need to make the weight because I know what I want out of the season. I am always working towards a state title, working towards being a better wrestler than I was yesterday."

Jake recognizes the crucial support of his practice partner and twin brother, Max, who has been by his side throughout his journey. In training, they pushed each other to the limit, sparing no mercy on the mat. However, their bond as brothers truly illuminated when they faced off in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. While they approached each other as competitors in practice, their deep brotherly connection emerged prominently in the heat of competition.

"Me and Max can tear each other's head off and walk out of the wrestling room and be totally fine. There are never any hard feelings, we just love to compete," Jake described his unique relationship with Max. We ended up meeting in the quarters at state and he medically forfeited to me, so I could move on. Awesome brother, right?"

The Glaser family has a rich wrestling heritage that traces back to their grandfather. Both their father and uncle competed for Dickinson Trinity when it had a wrestling program, with the uncle earning two state championships and their father reaching the finals. This legacy of wrestling excellence has deeply influenced Jake and his brothers.

The legacy of the Glaser family intensified the pressure on Jake as he advanced to the championship match. His opponent, Cade Nieuwsma from Bismarck High, was ranked No. 2 in the state. The two had competed against each other numerous times before Jake's freshman year, with each besting the other at various times. However, this year, they faced off once at the West Region Individual tournament, a match that Jake won, setting the stage for their high-stakes encounter in the championship.

Despite his previous victory over Nieuwsma, Jake understood the importance of not underestimating the championship match, especially with everyone's attention focused on him.

"You always have to fight for it," Jake said. "You are never given a state title. You have to wrestle every opponent with everything you got and you warm up the same. You just always go 100 percent because each match will get progressively harder so you need that same mentality every time."

The championship match turned into an intense battle that wasn't resolved until sudden victory. Nieuwsma initially took the lead, maintaining it for nearly two full periods. Trailing 3-1, Jake managed to tie the score with a takedown, pushing the match into sudden victory after a scoreless third round. Nieuwsma nearly clinched the title with a takedown attempt, but Jake executed a brilliant scramble, leading to a reset at the center of the mat due to a potentially dangerous hold. Shortly thereafter, Jake secured a takedown, winning the match 5-3 in sudden victory.

"It was a whole lot of different emotions, but a lot of it was excitement," Jake embellished. "All the adrenaline went straight to my body and I didn't even think about celebrating, I just did it. I'm usually pretty humble, but I was so pumped and I knew my coaches were there and they were happy and making my dad and family and my coaches proud tied it all together."

With two more years left in his high school wrestling career and a significant list of achievements already under his belt, Jake is motivated to set even higher goals. He frequently finds himself gazing at the record boards in their wrestling room, imagining his name among the legends. Beyond personal accolades, Jake aspires to inspire younger athletes and the junior varsity team. His disciplined approach and refusal to lack direction in his sports endeavors will serve as a model for others as he steps into his role as an upperclassman.

"I think it is important to have someone to look up to, but I am just going to keep doing what I am doing," Jake said. "I'll keep wrestling the same way I do every match and give it my 100 percent."

GUS BOHMBACH, 160 lb CHAMPION

Senior Gus Bohmbach's journey is marked by determination and overcoming psychological barriers. As a dominant force in the Class B 160 weight class throughout the year, he constantly faced heightened competition due to the metaphorical target on his back.

Nevertheless, he triumphed as both the Class B West Region and state champion, further distinguishing himself by receiving the Region 4 Senior Athlete of the Year award. His success is a testament to his ability to navigate and conquer the challenges that came his way.

Bohmbach's wrestling career started at the tender age of five, with his father introducing him to the sport. As the eldest among four brothers, all of whom are engaged in wrestling, he felt a profound duty to set a positive example and lead them on a path toward championship success. This sense of responsibility shaped his approach to the sport and his role within his family.

"I just want to set a positive example not only for my brothers, but also my teammates," Gus said. "I wanted to reach the championship match to demonstrate the hard work required to achieve your goals. To be a role model so that hopefully they can follow suit in their future wrestling seasons."

Gus' mental resilience stood out remarkably. Despite encountering obstacles that could have ended his season and dealing with the pressure of high-stakes competitions, he never wavered in his quest for the championship. His wrestling career saw significant challenges, including missing most of his sophomore year due to an injury and starting his junior year late because of a leg break sustained during football season.

Nonetheless, these setbacks did not deter his determination or divert his focus from his ambitions.

"Looking up at the scoreboard, I knew there was a lot of work to be done, but I also knew it was possible," Gus emphasized. "You can't lose sight of your goals and what you want to achieve. When setbacks occur, it sets you back momentarily, but you just have to refocus, and I think the people around me have helped me with that."

Before his senior year, Bohmbach had twice reached the state championship match but had not succeeded in winning. His senior year marked his last chance to secure the title, a fact that both he and his coach, Sean Elkins, were acutely aware of. They committed themselves entirely to achieving this goal, understanding the significance of this final opportunity.

"Coach Elkins knew what it takes to get where I wanted to be, having two state titles himself, so he was constantly pushing me and ensuring I stayed focused," Gus said. "Especially in my senior year, he pushed me throughout the season."

In the pivotal championship match for the 160 weight class, Bohmbach squared off against Josh Meehl of Oaks, fully intent on claiming victory. Demonstrating impeccable execution of his strategy, Gus achieved a takedown in each round to establish an early advantage.

Employing a bold technique known as the roll through tilt, he widened his lead as the final period approached. Josh Meehl put up a strong fight, but Gus prevailed with a 6-3 win.

"After the first day, I was talking to Zack Anderson, my friend and a former wrestler for Killdeer, and he said, 'You are playing with house money now. It's anybody's game. You both want the same thing, so you might as well give it your all,'" Gus recalled. "When time ran out, I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy, looking up at the crowd and seeing all the support, then running into coach Elkins' arms."

Securing the championship title, Bohmbach exemplified the impact of relentless hard work and dedication. Yet, he recognizes that this achievement was not a solo effort, expressing profound gratitude towards his coach, parents, and teammates for their steadfast support, acknowledging their significant roles in his journey to the top.