The Winner Area wrestling team will combine youth with a lot of wrestlers who have state meet experience.
Spencer Novotny is starting his second year as the head coach of the Warriors.
The Warriors will open the season at the Kimball tournament on Dec. 2. The meet will start at 10 a.m. and will feature 12 teams.
There are 11 lettermen on the team. The lettermen include: Kaden Keiser, Achilles Willuweit, Joey Cole, Aaron Gilchrist, Owen Duffy, Trevor Peters, Landon Debus, Cailob Week, Wyatt Turnquist, Riggin Shippy, Atlas Willuweit.
The two seniors on the team are: Atlas Willuweit and Jamin Dougherty.
Others on the team are: Bosten Morehart, Preston Norrid, Sam Kruger, Dylan Ernster, Asher Kraft, Elijah Blare, Kaleb Osborn, Riley Shippy, Charles Pravecek, Enrique Guzman, Jack Kruger and Riley Orel.
The Warriors lost six seniors—Kayleb Brozik, Tre Doren, Avery Gilchrist, Jayden Schroeder, Nick Blare and Tristan Watzel.
Last year at state, Doren won first place at 285 pounds.
Five wrestlers will return who placed at state last year. Kaden Keiser was 6th at 106, Wyatt Turnquist, 5th at 113; Atlas Willuweit, 4th at 120; Trevor Peters, 6th at 126 and Sam Kruger who wrestled for Kimball last year placed third at 138 pounds.
“We are a young team but we return a lot of experience,” said Novotny.
“We have a lot of kids who were a match away from qualifying for state a year ago,” said Novotny.
The Warriors have a lot of depth in three different spots. There are a several wrestlers in the lighter weights, 138 pounds and 160-170 pounds.
Novotny says in practice the team has been working on a lot of techniques. He says there is a lot of high intensity in practice and as the season progresses there will be more intensity.
“We will be tough and a scrappy team,” said the coach. “There are a lot of kids on this team who did not get everything accomplished last year. They realized that and had great summer workouts along with acceleration camp, taking part in open gyms and going to camps.”
The Warriors have a tough schedule. It has been several years since the team has competed in the Gregory tournament and this year will return to Gregory on Dec. 9. In the past, Winner has wrestled at the Rapid City meet which was same day as the Gregory meet. “We will find great competition in Gregory,” said Novotny.
A new tournament for Winner will at Tri Valley on Jan. 13. This will allow the wrestlers to see some competition they have not seen prior to the state tournament.
The regional will be in Miller and the state tournament will be in Sioux Falls.
In Class B, Novotny says the top teams to beat are Canton, Mobridge/Pollock and Philip. He added Parkston is also a strong team.
Novotny’s assistant coaches are Jayd Schuyler and Daryl LaDeaux.
The 2017-2018 schedule includes:
Dec. 2—at Kimball tournament
Dec. 7—Wagner/Gregory Triangular
De. 9—Gregory tournament
Dec. 15-16—at Valentine, Neb.
Dec. 30—at McCook Central
Jan. 2—Stanley County, home
Jan. 5-6—at Lyman tournament
Jan. 13—at Tri Valley tournament
Jan. 16—O’Neill/Valentine Triangular
Jan. 19—Kimball/Philip, home
Jan. 20—Winner Invitational tournament
Jan. 27—Aberdeen Central tournament
Jan. 30—at Chamberlain
Feb. 3—Big Dakota at Stanley Co.
Feb. 10—at Huron
Feb. 17—Regional at Miller
Feb. 23-24—State tournament in Sioux Falls