Wrestlers have high hopes for state

By Dan Bechtold


For a wrestler this is the greatest weekend of the year.

It is state tournament time and this year the state meet will be held Feb. 24, 25 and 26 in Sioux Falls at the Premier Center.

All the work, sweat and dreams come down to this one weekend.

Winner, one of the top teams in Class B, won the Region 3B tournament and qualified 11 wrestlers for state. Those who qualified are: Max Brozik, Kason Keiser, Kaleb Osborn, Konnor Osborn, Kaden Keiser, Jack Peters, Riley Orel, Joey Cole, Jack Kruger, Charley Pravecek and Achilles Willuweit.

“We had a strong push at the end to win the regional tournament,” said coach Spencer Novotny.

He added the team had its ups downs throughout the day.

Maxton Brozik, Kaleb Osborn, Kaden Keiser, Riley Orel and Achilles Willuweit took care of business and were crowned regional champs.

Jack Kruger had to wrestle the No. 1 kid in the state came up short taking second place.

“Jack Peters wrestled a really good tournament and came from seventh seed to qualify for the state tournament. He beat two rated guys to punch his ticket,” said Novotny.

The coach noted Joey Cole wrestled through an injury showing his leadership and qualified for state.

Konnor Osborn wrestled really well and earned his first state tournament appearance.

“Karson Keiser and Charley Pravecek both wrestled tough but came up short of making the championship match,” said Novotny.

Jude Sargent had a tough day and was one match short of placing. He did come back to get 5th place at 138 pounds and in so doing the state chose him as an alternate for the 138 pound weight class. This means that if someone gets hurt, sick, or doesn’t make weight, Jude will be entered in their spot for the tournament. Each weight class has one alternate.

Novotny added Ash Kaiser and Stetson Shelbourn put it all out there this weekend but couldn’t get through to state. However, both Ash and Stetson are still going to get to wrestle at the state dual tournament on Saturday and will be valuable to the team in that aspect.

Novotny says state week is a fun week. “We were fortunate to qualify for the state dual tournament so we will have all 14 varsity guys and our three alternates in practice this week. It will be 14 going to state plus Gus Bartels, Ryken Orel and Parker Mathis.

In the dual tournament, Winner will wrestle Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon at 11a.m. The semifinals will start at 1 p.m. and the championship at 3 p.m.

The individual tournament will be held Thursday and Friday.

The coach said Winner got some good draws and some bad draws for the individual tournament. “We are ready to roll. This is what we have been working for all season and it is finally here. We will be led by our five seniors that will be wearing their Winner Warrior singlets the last weekend of their career. Our younger guys are hoping to turn a few heads this weekend and get to the podium,” said Novotny.

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