FARGO—Jared Franek was tired of finishing second place. He was runner-up in the USA Wrestling Junior Freestyle National Championship last summer, losing in the final seconds. He took runner-up at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament earlier this season, his only loss of his 27-1 season. His past two appearances at the Rumble on the Red wrestling tournament ended with him in second place after winning his freshman year.
The three-time North Dakota state champion and North Dakota State senior commit of West Fargo knows how to win. He wouldn't be denied this time around.
Down by two points in the final minute, Franek pulled out a match-tying reversal and scored a takedown in a 5-3 sudden victory over Tyler Dow of Stoughton for the 160-pound Rumble on the Red championship on Friday, Dec. 29, at the Fargodome.
"Getting second place is one of the hardest things ever, getting that close and then coming up short," said Franek, who was named the outstanding wrestler of the tournament. "That was a big motivation for me coming in here, and I got the job done."
Franek was familiar with Dow. They had wrestled before and Franek had been watching him throughout the tournament.
"I knew I just had to push the pace," Franek said. "I knew if I kept moving and pushing the pace, something would open up and it did eventually."
Both Dow and Franek started defensively which led to a scoreless first period. Franek can traditionally move people around well, move well himself and can go low and get leverage, Packers head coach Ben Berogan said. But Tow, strong and taller than Franek, was tough to move.
"It's good to see him come back and win," Berogan said. "The other guy was doing a good job of being defensive and taking away Jared's strengths."
Dow scored a one-point escape in the second period after starting in the down position. Franek got his own escape in the third period after starting down to tie the match.
Dow started to get more aggressive and scored a two-point takedown in the third period for a 3-1 lead. Franek then willed himself to a two-point reversal to tie the match. Dow came close to escaping for the winning point and stood up on one foot, but Franek held on to force the sudden victory.
Franek was the aggressor in the extra period. He scored the winning points on a takedown to finally break through for a tournament win.
"He's tough to keep down," Berogan said of Franek. "I felt good going into overtime because Jared is a well conditioned athlete."