By Dan Bechtold
Experience. Three state champions returning. Seventeen lettermen.
This is a good recipe for a successful wrestling season for the Winner Area team.
The Warriors will open the season on Dec. 7 at the Kimball tournament.
The returning letterwinners are: Owen Duffy, Aaron Gilchrist, Max Brozik, Kaleb Osborn, Trevor Peters, Kaden Keiser, Achilles Willuweit, Cailob Week, Adam Bohnet, Charley Pravecek, Sam Kruger, Joey Cole, Preston Norrid, Jack Kruger, Riley Orel, Landon Debus and Jude Sargent.
Seniors who graduated are Wyatt Turnquist who is wrestling at Northern State University, Elijah Blare, Trey Welch and Riggin Shippy.
A year ago the Warriors were second in the state tournament and had three current wrestlers win state titles—Keiser, Peters and Sam Kruger.
Willuweit took fourth at state and Jack Kruger was 8th.
Preston Norrid and Riley Orel were also state qualifiers.
The Warriors were successful last year going 8-0 in duals and winning the regional championship. Coach Spencer Novotny hopes to build on that success. “We have a lot of experience coming back and those wrestlers will have to be the leaders,” said the coach.
Novotny hopes to be able to fill all weight classes this year. “I have never had a full team, I have always been one short,” he said.
Prior to the Thanksgiving break, the team had not held wrestle offs to determine who will be competing in each weight class.
The Warriors open the season on Dec. 7 at the Kimball/White Lake tournament.
Novotny is excited to have the regional tournament in Winner in February.
The state meet will be in Sioux Falls.
Being brought back to the state tournament is the state dual meet.
In 2003, Winner won the state dual meet. In 2001, the Warrior placed 8th and were third in 2004.
The state meet will be three days this year—Thursday, Friday and Saturday starting on Feb. 27.
Novotny says the top teams in Class B will have to include the two time defending champion, Canton. Winner, Redfield, Howard, Bon Homme and Burke/Gregory will be contenders for top teams in Class B.
Assisting Novotny in coaching the team is Jayd Schuyler.
The wrestling schedule includes:
Dec. 7—Kimball/White Lake tournament
Dec.12—At Gregory/Wagner triangular
Dec. 14—at Gregory tournament
Dec. 20-21—Valentine tournament
Jan. 2—Stanley County, home
Jan. 4—McCook tournament
Jan. 10-11—Mid Dakota Monster in Presho
Jan. 18—at Tri Valley
Jan 21—at Valentine, O’Neill triangular
Jan. 24—Winner triangular
Jan. 25—Winner tournament
Feb. 1—at Aberdeen Central
Feb. 4—at Chamberlain
Feb. 8—at Stanley Co.
Feb. 15—at Huron
Feb. 22—Regional in Winner
Feb. 27, 28 and 29—State meet in Sioux Falls