HS Wrestling: Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter’s Bitz battling through injuries

National Sports

Senior Jacob Bitz has stayed at the same 145-pound class for the last three years, but it wasn’t exactly by choice.

“I broke my foot last summer and this summer I broke my thumb, so then I couldn’t do my legs last summer,” Bitz said. “And then this summer all my upper body was kind of hard to do, so I just did a lot of running and stuff.”

The injuries have come either at football camps or running laps, and Bitz joked that he thinks he’s got bad luck.

“Sometimes I feel like that stuff happens to me a lot, but it motivates me to push through it a lot more, too,” Bitz said.

And that’s just what Bitz has had to do this year. Because of his injury, he couldn’t start his wrestling season until the Bismarck Rotary. But Bitz is eager to be back on the mat and avenge last season’s state semifinal loss.

“It was a close match in the semis, and I lost by one, which was disappointing,” he said. “Hopefully hoping to make it to the finals and be a state champ this year.”

To Bitz, that one-point loss hurts more than a broken foot or thumb. And that’s why he’s always got it in the back of his mind when he goes to work on the mat.

“You definitely think about it a lot,” Bitz said. “That’s one of the things that crossed my mind, especially when you’re listening to some pump-up song or something. You think about matches like that where you’re losing by one, and it’s just pushing yourself that much more. 

“Especially with my senior year, nothing’s stopping me now, no matter the pain or anything. I’m definitely going to do whatever I can to wrestle,” Bitz said. 

The Class B state tournament begins Feb. 15 in Fargo.

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