Sunday, March 4, 2018

Governors Win Fourth Straight Class A Title

For the past three years the final tournament of the year has produced a solid showing for the Governor Wrestling program, and after a close 1.5 victory over Aberdeen Central in 2015, the wrestlers put up commanding victories the past two years with 58.5 and 37 point gaps for the runner-up teams.  Although favored as the #1 ranked team heading into action on Friday morning, many Governor fans understood what it was going to take to pull out the fourth straight team title.  By advancing 12 wrestlers to the state tournament (compared to 14 for Rapid City Stevens) the Governors were at a slight disadvantage despite winning the battle of higher seeds for many of their weight classes.  Eleven of the twelve had seeds in the top eight, once brackets were released on Monday evening, compared to only 10 for Stevens including three #1 and two #2 seeds. If the team wrestled to their potential and advanced five into the finals, then their top point earners would make it difficult for Stevens to stop them from achieving their fourth straight state title.  However, the remaining six wrestlers also needed to perform, with uncertainty coming from Stevens unseeded wrestlers who certainly could generate much-needed bonus points even with one win, or outperform their seeds and run head-to-head with the Governors.  

The Governor Wrestling team stands atop of the podium following Saturday's wrestling having earned their fourth straight Class A Wrestling Title.

In looking back now, it’s evident the value of every wrestler that advanced to the state tournament as the 1.5 point victory over Stevens was secured not by just the team’s top point-getters, but every Governor wrestler.  With every wrestler earning at least 3 points toward the team total, on spectator reflected when everything was over "It’s like starting the state tournament with a 30 point lead."  With the victory on Saturday evening, the Governors earned their fourth straight Class A Title, the sixth in just the past seven years, and became just the third team in South Dakota to ever win four straight wrestling titles.  The team also produced two more state champions, a finalist, one third, one fourth, two fifth place, and two seventh-place finishers. New assistant coach Travis Heasley reflected on the collective work of the team noting "Coming into a program that has a winning streak like we have had, is very intimidating but an amazing opportunity.  It think it took me a little while to get comfortable.  Being able to coach this group of wrestlers, especially the seniors, is a once in a lifetime experience for any coach.  Winning a State Championship in your first year and having two state champions in that first year has been incredible and has made me feel very blessed.  It also makes me excited for the future."   

William Turman capped off his final tournament in a Governor singlet coming in as the #1 seed at 132lbs, and advanced into his fourth straight state final match.  In route to the finals, Turman won by tech fall in his opening match over Lamer (Dell Rapids), then won by pin against Burnham from Strugis in the quarterfinals.  A quick takedown early in the first period against Mennis (Madison) in the semifinals, turned into a cradle that Turman locked up in the center of the mat to generate a pin in 1:24.  In the finals, Turman squared off against returning state champion Spencer Stockman who he held a 2-1 advantage over from previous wins at the Rapid City and Mitchell Invitational.  Will scored a takedown as time expired in the first period, then an escape in the second period and was able to hold on to a 4-2 lead as time expired in the third period to win his fourth straight state Class A title (previously at 106lbs, 113lbs, and 120lbs).  With the victory, Turman became first Governor to accomplish this feat, and only the fifth Class A wrestler to win four state championships.  When gathering for the team awards at the end of the competition, Turman added another first for the Governors as it was announced that he had also earned a share of the Outstanding Wrestler award voted on by the coaches.  

William Turman stands with Chamberlain's Nash Hutmacker following their championship matches as they both earned the Outstanding Wrestler Award for Class A. 

Favored as the #1 seed at 145lbs, Michael Lusk entered the tournament without a loss to another South Dakota wrestler.  Lusk was able to generate bonus points during his first two matches on Friday with a second period tech fall over Clausen (O'Gorman), and then a 14-5 major decision over Jake Werner from Watertown in the quarterfinals.  Matches became a little tighter in the semifinals as Lusk defeated Voorhees (Stevens) 3-2 in an important head-to-head matchup.  Lusk had defeated Voorhees three times previously this season in similar fashion and the win ensured his fourth straight trip to the Class A finals.  In the finals, Lusk faced #2 ranked and returning finalist Trey Hage (Vermillion) where he was able to put initial points on the board with an escape early in the second period.  Hage followed suit with an escape in the third period, but Lusk quickly countered with a takedown on the edge of the mat.  Despite an escape with: 30 second, Hage was unable to counter with a takedown of his own and Lusk became just the third Governor wrestler to win three state Class A titles (previously winning at 120lbs and 132lbs). 

Michael Lusk has his hand raised for the third straight year following his 3-2 victory over Trey Hage in the finals at 145lbs. 

Despite having lost his first post-season match of his career at the Region tournament, Lincoln Turman was able to secure the #1 seed at the 120lb weight class.  In the opening round, Turman won by a 9-1 major decision against Leonhardt (Roosevelt) and then with an 8-0 decision over Kyle Bauder from Mitchell.  His 5-2 victory over Ruffo (Yankton) helped him make it into the finals with Lusk and William Turman, and his third straight trip since winning it the past two years at 106lb and 113lbs.  In the finals, Turman faced #2 ranked and undefeated Klinkhammer (Brandon) where he suffered a hamstring injury attempting to avoid a takedown on the edge of the mat late in the first period.  Choosing down, Lincoln was unable to generate an escape in the second period. With a 0-0 score entering the third, Klinkhammer achieved an escape followed by a takedown to secure a 3-0 victory.  Turman finished his Governor career with the runner-up finish.  Reflecting on the success of these three Governor seniors head coach Shawn Lewis noted "Getting into the finals is special and hard.  Making it each and every year of your varsity career is almost unheard of.  Then to think that all three of them did it, astonishing."  

Lincoln Turman works to secure a takedown against Bauder (Mitchell) during their quarterfinal match on Saturday.  Turman won by major decision and finished as runner-up.

Two Governors wrestled late on Saturday afternoon for 3rd place with Gage Gehring earning critical bonus points against Reiger (Huron) to finish his junior year.  In route to the consolation finals, he won by fall in his opening match and then defeated Hehr (Spearfish) to advance to the semifinals.  There he lost by pin as time expired in the second period, but came back with an important 10-5 win over Olson (RC Central) to compete for third.  Maguire Rasked also outperformed his #6 seed with a 13-0 major decision over Brink (Stevens) before losing to Schirado (Harrisburg) in the quarterfinals.  Two pins in the wrestlebacks and a 6-3 decision over #4 seed Zach Witte put him in the 3rd place match for a rematch against Schirado.  There he lost 4-0 and finished his freshman season with a 4th place finish.

Maguire Raske looks to pin Schoenfelder (Mitchell) during his wrestle-back match on Friday evening.  Raske earned the pin and finished 4th overall. 

Austin Senger entered his fifth state tournament with the #2 seed with an intention of returning to the finals, something that had alluded him during the past three years following a second-place finish his 8th grade rookie season.  Senger produced bonus for the Governors with a pin over Sorenson (Brandon) and Stroup (Watertown) during the first period of the first two rounds.  After an overtime loss in Regions to Havlick (Mitchell) Senger’s path to the finals required him to go through #3 ranked Collin Haar.  In their semifinal match, Haar opened up with an escape and takedown in the second period.  Senger countered with an escape late that period and then again early in the third.  Despite multiple attempts to score a much-needed takedown, Senger was able to earn the second stalling call against Haar to tie it up and push for overtime.  However, Haar was able to get in on a shot and despite the attempt to scramble out of it, Senger gave up takedown which kicked him back into the wrestle-backs.  "Losing in the semifinals to Haar was hard on me as a coach," said Lewis.  "I promised Austin after he lost in the finals as an 8th grader that I would get him a State Championship.  I ultimately felt like I let him down or failed him somehow because I could no longer deliver on my promise."  Coming off the difficult loss, Senger fell behind early against Hodges (Madison) in the consolation semifinals and eventually lost 5-4.  In his final match, up 10-2 Austin was able to put away Bien (Milbank) in the second period with a pin, and his third pin of the tournament to finish 5th overall.  With this tournament, Senger joined Tanner Monfore, Jebben Keyes, and Spencer Sarringar as the only Governors to place five years at the state tournament.

Austin Senger attempts to throw Alex Bien (Milbank) in their 5th place match.  With the pin in the second period Senger became just the fourth Governor to place at five state Class A Tournaments. 

Of the remaining placers, two other Governors were able to win in the third round wrestle-backs right away on Saturday morning and advancing into the 5th place match late on Saturday afternoon.  At 126lbs Jack Van Camp won with bonus in the opening round with a pin over Hage (Harrisburg), and then lost to #3 seed Jacob Moore from Aberdeen.  In the wrestle-backs he had a pin over Ketelsen (Sturgis) at the end of the first period, the won in sudden victory over Max Sailor (Spearfish).  After a loss in the consolation finals, he then lost to Coyle (Watertown) in a 5-0 decision to place 6th.  Cade Hinkle also competed for 5th place at the close of wrestling on Saturday and in route there he won a 13-6 decision over Johnson (Harrisburg) before losing a 3-2 decision to #2 seed Tyson Stoebner.  In the wrestle back a last-second throw in the third period helped him advance over Morrison (RC Central), followed by a 3-1 victory over Terpstra (Brandon) right away on Saturday morning.  Hinkle lost the final two matches over Sharkey from RC Stevens and then Hight from O'Gorman.  The final match for both Hinkle and Van Camp earned them each their first trip to the podium at the state tournament. 

Jack Van Camp attempts to pin Ketelsen (Sturgis) in his wrestle-back match on Friday evening.  With the pin Van Camp went on to place 6th overall. 

For the final two placers, Barry Browning was able to defeat Burrus (RC Central) by a 12-4 major decision in the opening round, then lost to #1 seed Harris from Huron in the quarterfinals.  A 5-3 win over Swab in the wrestle-backs ensured his place on the podium, but he followed up the next morning with a 5-1 loss to Allen from RC Stevens.  In the seventh-place match, Browning won 9-2 over Gage Carr (Dell Rapids) to finish his wrestling career.  Pryce Dyk took a similar path, earning a pin in the first period in the opening round, then losing a 5-2 decision against #4 seed Johnson (Aberdeen) in the quarterfinals.  In the wrestle-backs he generated a late takedown as time expired in the third to defeat Krohnke (Brandon) but then lost a sudden victory match against Patterson early on Saturday morning.  For his final match as a Governor, Dyk pulled out the 2-1 victory over Dagel from Roosevelt to earn the seventh-place medal.  

Pryce Dyk looks for an opportunity for a takedown during his opening match on Friday.  Dyk earned the first period pin and finished his Governor career with a 7th place finish. 

In his first trip to the state tournament, unseeded Hayden Shaffer lost an opening round bid against Region 3 champion Brenden Salfrank 7-2, and then won by forfeit against Blakeman (Bell Fourche).  In the second round wrestle-backs he lost a 10-2 major decision against Althoff (Watertown).  After suffering a knee injury in the first period of his match against Olson (Madison) resulting in an injury default, Jace Bench-Bresher came back with an important win by fall over Schneck (Milbank) in the first period of the wrestle-backs.  The knee injury persisted in the next round, and Bench-Bresher was unable to finish against Riley Williams (Lennox) who he had defeated twice earlier in the season. "Having Hayden and Jace score points for us became huge for the team because without their pins we would have fallen short of our team goal of winning the team title," said Heasley.  "Having them at the state tournament and each getting a win will only help the team next year.  Very proud of them both."  

Hayden Shaffer attempts to hook up an inside cradle on Watertown's Nate Althoff during their second-round wrestle-back match.  

"This group of seniors deserved to win," said Lewis after the tournament concluded.  "they have done everything right for the last six years.  Upon entering the lineup as freshman they have been the epitome of consistency.  It was only fitting that it end the way that it started."  Overall the Governors lose a talented crop of six senior place winners that will be difficult to replace next year.  However, similar to the start of this season the team next year will bring back four place winners and a number of wrestlers with state tournament experience.  As many of these wrestlers continue to grow, a very talented crop of 7th and 8th graders are waiting in the wings to help continue the growing tradition of ensuring a championship run for years to come.  The final outcome for all Governor state qualifiers includes:

The seven Governor seniors pose with the Class A Championship trophy one last time on Saturday to end their high school career with four straight team titles. 
  • 106lbs - Hayden Shaffer - DNP (1-2) 3 Team Points
  • 113lbs - Jace Bench Bresher - DNP (1-2) 3 Team Points
  • 120lbs - Lincoln Turman - State Runner-Up (3-1) 20 Team Points
  • 126lbs - Jack Van Camp - 6th Place (3-3) 11 Team Points
  • 132lbs - Will Turman - State Champion (4-0) 27.5 Team Points
  • 138lbs - Cade Hinkle - 6th Place (3-3) 7 Team Points
  • 145lbs - Michael Lusk - State Champion (4-0) 24.5 Team Points
  • 152lbs - Barry Browning - 7th Place (3-2) 6 Team Points
  • 160lbs - Austin Senger - 5th Place (3-2) 15 Team Points
  • 170lbs - Maguire Raske - 4th Place (4-2) 17 Team Points
  • 195lbs - Gage Gehring - 3rd Place (4-1) 18 Team Points
  • 285lbs - Pryce Dyk - 7th Place (3-2) 7 Team Points

Monday, February 26, 2018

A Calculated Race to the Class A State Wrestling Title

Its difficult for the novice wrestling fan to understand that the race to a state wrestling team title is better aligned with the strategy needed to win a marathon rather than a sprint.  If you look back at this weekends title race you come to understand that team standing throughout the four sessions of action are in constant flux depending on the composition of your team.  Teams with considerable talent in the lighter weights can take a commanding lead early, to only be overcome by those with solid wrestlers in the upper weights.  Teams with limited depth, yet four or five title contenders can hold on to build up points in the semifinal and championship round to catch an unsuspecting team and the inexperienced wrestling fans who can be fooled by the early reports on team scores.  This weekends Class A Wrestling tournament certainly resembled the marathon as two talented teams with considerable depth battled till the very last matches to determine who would come away with the state title in Sioux Falls.  While a more detailed blog post about the achievements of the various Governor wrestlers will be forthcoming, this initial post is designed to chart the path to victory that coaches sought to do in preparation for the final placing round late on Saturday afternoon. 

The Governor Wrestling team stands atop the podium after winning their fourth straight Class A State Wrestling Title

When wrestlers departed the Denny Sanford Center following the semifinal and consolation semifinal rounds, the Rapid City Stevens and Governor faithful each had their moments in the spotlight.  Early victories by Jack Van Camp and Cade Hinkle helped keep these two wrestlers advancing in the wrestlebacks, and Lincoln Turman, William Turman, and Michael Lusk each punched their ticket to the finals for the third and fourth straight year.  Stevens struggled in the lower weights despite victories by Cody Stockman and Logan Fischer in the wrestlebacks, where they lost four of their first five semifinal matches resulting in a significant lead by the Governors. However, when Austin Senger lost in overtime to Colin Haar, the tide slowly began to turn as that also triggered loses by Barry Browning in the wrestlebacks.  Up 6-2 late in the second period, Gage Gehring lost control of Joey Otta (Roosevelt) and was pinned with :01 seconds left to derail his championship title hopes.  A sliver of hope surfaced as Maguire Raske won by fall in the second period, but was soon diminished as Pryce Dyk lost 5-2 in an important head-to-head match with Patterson from Stevens at HWT.  Following the 145lbs loss in the semifinals, RC Stevens won consecutive victories at 152, 182, and 285 with the victory over Dyk to retake the team lead.  In the consolation semifinals, Stevens further extended their lead by winning four additional matches to push four of their wrestlers to compete for third, while the Governors only did so with wins by Raske and Gehring. As the last whistle blew mid-afternoon, Rapid City Stevens had established a 6.5 point lead over the Governors having generated 147.5 total team points.  

Pryce Dyk holds on for the 2-1 victory over Dagel (Roosevelt) during his 7th place match on Saturday. 

In anticipation of the final round, fans from both teams began to evaluate the critical matchups that remained.  A total of 20 matches (10 for Stevens, 9 for the Governors, and one head-to-head) would soon determine the next Class A team title, and based on preliminary projections the Governors could win four in the placing round compared to two for Stevens.  If matches went as projected, the Governors would then need to win all three finals matches including the critical head-to-head matchup between Turman and returning state champion Spencer Stockman since it was expected that Dante Colicheski would win at 182lbs.  These projections didn't include any potential bonus point (1 for a major decision, 1.5 for tech fall, and 2 for a pin), just pacing points for each victory(1 for 7th, 2 for 5th, 2 for 3rd, and 4 for 1st) .  "We told the team that we had ten chances to make up points," said head coach Shawn Lewis.  "Ten wrestlers that all had the opportunity to help close the gap.  It all comes back to the one match at a time focus.  Go out and look to secure a win but always be looking for bonus.  We knew we were favored at 152, 160, 195, and 285 in the wrestle backs and they had the best chance of looking for bonus.  Our focus was to get it as close as possible before the championship matches took place."  To some extent, the competition went close to how many projected it would.

Barry Browning works for a turn against Carr (Dell Rapids) during their 7th place match on Saturday evening.  Browning went on to win 9-2. 

Stevens opened with a loss at 106lbs as Declan Malone lost by pin for his 5th place match, which was then followed by losses for Cody Stockman (113lbs) and Logen Fischer (120lbs).  Stevens increased their lead by 8.5 points with wins by Cody BeVier in overtime, while Jack Van Camp also lost to Coyle (Watertown) who he had lost two twice earlier this year.  Stevens secured an unexpected victory at 138lbs when Branden Sharkey defeated #2 seeded Tyson Stoebner with a late takedown, and an expected win by Voorhees at 145lbs helped to extend a 10.5 point lead.  "Sharkey beating Stoebner was the only match that we had figured the wrong way which made things tighter heading into the finals," said Lewis.  Cade Hinkle then lost to Tigh Hight (O'Gorman), but Governor coaches expected to win four of the final five matches to help close the gap that was being generated.  Austin Senger earned a 5th place finish and two additional bonus points with a pin in his final match as a Governor to bring it within 8.5.  This was followed by a decision for Barry Browning in his 7th place match to bring things within 7.5.  Stevens proceeded to lose each of their three remaining matches while Maguire Raske lost to Shirado (Harrisburg) who had defeated him earlier in the tournament.  However with a pin at 195 for Gage Gehring over Reiger (Huron), and a decision by Pryce Dyk at 285 the additional five points narrowed the Stevens lead to 2.5 points going into the finals. "Without Austin and Gage getting pins in their last matches it would have been really hard for us to win" noted assistant coach Travis Heasley.  "It took some of the pressure off the finalists.  As a coach, I was so proud of those two coming back when we needed them to get those wins.  It goes to show you the character of them both."  

Austin Senger prepares to turn Bien (Milbank) during his 5th place match and with the eventual pin, generated four team points for the Governors.

For the final's the head-to-head matchup for William Turman would prove to be critical, since a win would secure an additional four points for the Governors, but a loss would mean four points in their favor making it difficult to win the tournament if Colicheski won at 182lbs as was expected.  "Before finals started and we had a chance to recalculate the scores we knew we needed 132 as it stopped them from scoring," said Lewis. With that win, just one additional victory from Lusk or Lincoln Turman should have ensured a victory for the Governors if Colicheski didn't' pick up a pin in the final.  Unfortunately, much of the burden was placed on both Will Turman and Michael Lusk after Lincoln suffered a hamstring injury early in the first period of his match against Klinkhammer and wasn't able to secure his third straight state title following a 3-0 loss. 

Lincoln Turman works to hold off a takedown by Klinkhammer (Brandon Valley) late in the first period of their championship match.  Turman went on to lose 3-0 and finish his career as a runner-up. 

"I think the only thing I said to Will and Lusk was 'Go Get It," said Heasley.  "Those two have ice in their veins and don't need a big pep talk.  Its hard to find two individuals that always perform under pressure as well as they do every time.  I remember Will just smiling at both of us coaches before he went to the center of the mat to tell us he's got this."    Still trailing by 2.5 points as a team, William Turman went to work scoring a late takedown in the first period against Stockman.  He then escaped in the second period and gave up a reversal with :20 remaining in the final period.  Stockman gave Turman the escape with a goal of taking him down in the closing seconds to tie up the score but Turman was able to hold him off and win his fourth straight Class A wrestling title.  "Michael beams with confidence no matter what the situation is.  He gave that same smile when I said: "Go Get It'  and I knew I didn't need to worry about him putting the team on his shoulders." With a 1.5 point lead for the Governors, Michael Lusk took to the mat one last time competing in his fourth state finals match.  A scoreless first period then led to an escape for Lusk in the second, followed by an escape by Trey Hage (Vermillion) early in the third.  With :50 second remaining Lusk earned a takedown on the edge of the mat, and despite giving up an escape was able to hold on for a 3-2 victory resulting in his third straight Class A wrestling title and producing a 5.5 point lead for the Governors.

Michael Lusk looks for the takedown against Hage (Vermillion) late in the third period of their finals match and with the score he helped to secure the 3-2 victory and third straight individual title. 

When the Governors had won the state title over Aberdeen in 2014, they had found themselves in a very similar position.  With a pin at 285lbs for Aberdeen, the Golden Eagles would defeat the Governors by .5 points.  With only a decision at 285lbs, the Governors came home with their third state title in four years and began the current run of three straight Class A championships.  Colicheski took the mat against cross-town rival Bridger Kraye from RC Central intent on bringing the team title back to west river.  From the outset, it appeared he had the horsepower to do just that when the opening feet-to-back takedown produced a roar from Steven's fans.  Kraye was able to roll through and avoid back points, and for the final six minutes was able to lose only a 9-2 decision.  Despite achieving a personal goal of an individual state title, his victory was not enough to also capture the team title for the rest of his team.  After the match, Lewis noted about Colicheski's effort "He went after it.  I was only able to stomach watching a portion of it but it was a max effort.  You could tell from the first whistle he was a man on a mission for his team.  It was a very honorable performance."  

William Turman finishes his wrestling career with his fourth straight wrestling title. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Govs Bring Home 3rd Straight Region 3A Title

Despite having won the last three Class A State Wrestling titles, many forget that the Governor's wrestling finished in the runner-up spot at the 3A Region tournament four years ago to a favored Aberdeen Central team.  While they lost by just under twenty points to the Golden Eagles that Saturday in February, they were able to secure their first of three straight state title in four years the following weekend with a tight 1.5 point margin in 2015.  With a core group of seniors with significant postseason experience, the Governors entered a difficult field with just four number one seeds at the event that included three weight classes where #1, #2 and #3 ranked wrestlers would compete to earn important state tournament seeding criteria.  Although the Governors were able to advance eight wrestlers into the finals, the team came away with only three champions and were able to advance a total of 12 wrestlers to the Class A State Tournament scheduled next week on Friday and Saturday.  This number is short of the 14 advanced in 2016, and 13 advanced last year, but the team is posed with a number of potential point earners that should place high on the podium.  When reflecting on the performance of his team head coach Shawn Lewis indicated "We did not have our best day overall, but it was nice to see us not have our best day and still qualify 12.  That speaks to both our depth and high expectations of ourselves." 

The Governor Wrestling team pose  their Region 3A plaque after winning their third straight title.  The Governors advance 12 of their wrestlers to the Class A State Tournament next weekend. 

The Governor's first champion was William Turman who advanced to the semifinals with a first-round bye and then won by pin against Dilen Anderson (Chamberlain) in the first period.  In the finals, Turman pinned Sparks from Mitchell in their third match-up of the year.  Senior Michael Lusk also capped off his final region tournament with first-period pins over Foltz (Chamberlain) and Riley (Todd County) during the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.  In the finals, he won by major over Carpenter from Mitchell with a 12-1 decision.  The wins for Turman and Lusk marked their fourth straight Class A Region titles which they both first won during their freshman campaigns.  The final champion for the Governors was Gage Gehring who advanced to the semifinals with a bye, then pinned #2 ranked Rieger from Huron late in the third period to make his first region finals appearance.  In the finals, Gehring was to square off against #1 ranked Max (Mitchell) who injury defaulted due to a shoulder injury.

William Turman attempts a shot on Chamberlains Dilen Anderson during their semifinal match.  Turman went on to secure the takedown and win by fall in the first period. 

Jace Bench-Bresher was the first runner-up for the Governors who advanced to the finals with a first-round bye and then defeated Schneck from Milbank by tech fall 15-0 during the semifinals.  In the finals, he lost a 4-1 decision against Max Donovan (Chamberlain).  Lincoln Turman faced #2 ranked Collin Powell from Chamberlain in the finals who he had narrowly defeated 1-0 at the Rapid City Invite earlier this year.  To get there Turman won by fall in :34 and :54 seconds over Radke (Huron) and Krause (Milbank).  In the finals, a late reversal by Powell tied the score to 5-5, and then Turman gave up a takedown midway through the sudden victory period to suffer just his second loss on year 7-5.  Jack Van Camp advanced with a first-round bye, then defeated McGinnis (Mitchell) 6-2 in a matchup with important seeding implications for state.  "Jack Van Camp really helped himself with the win over McGinnis," noted Lewis.  "As did Gehring who pulled out a huge win in the semifinals against a wrestler who beat him three weeks ago in the Huron Dual."  In the finals Van Camp lost 7-2 against #3 ranked Moore (Aberdeen). 

Lincoln Turman elevates and returns Krause from Milbank during their semifinal match.  Turman won by pin early in the first period to advance to the finals. 

Current #1 ranked Austin Senger entered the tournament with the #2 seed, and after a first-round bye won a tight 3-2 match against #3 ranked Haar from Aberdeen.  Of the top three wrestlers at 160lbs, Senger is the only one to remain undefeated against Haar who had previous win against Havlick from Mitchell in the finals at the Rapid City Invite.  The win in the semifinals forced the sixth match-up with Havlick who holds the margin of victory over Senger with a 3-2 match lead thus far this season.  A pair of escape in the second and third period produced overtime, and after no score, in the sudden victory period, both wrestlers earned escapes in the :30 second ride outs.  Havlick scored first with the second period escape, and when given the choice you chose down with Senger unable to complete the thirty-second ride out needed to secure the victory.  He lost the Ultimate Tie Breaker with a 3-2 score.  In each of his four previous region tournaments, Senger had come out on top as a region champion dating back to his 8th-grade season. 

Austin Senger defends an attack from Colin Haar during their semifinal match, for Senger to advance to the Region 3A finals. 

The final Governor runner-up was Pryce Dyke who continued his pinning streak as he won by fall against Cardona (Huron) in the first period, then drew #2 ranked Johnson from Aberdeen who had defeated him three times earlier this season.  After a scoreless first period, Dyk looked to be on his way to being ridden out in the second period before hitting a Peterson roll and backing Johnson.  With :12 second left, Dyk punched his ticket to the finals and his first state tournament appearance.  In the finals, he faced #1 ranked and returning state champion Hutmacher who won by fall in the first period.  "I think the big wins we had were Pryce over Aberdeen and Gage over Huron," noted Travis Heasley, assistant head coach.  "Pryce was waiting a long time to get that win and it shows how far he has come.  Gage wrestled great and beats the #2 in the state.  These are huge matches going into state."  

Pryce Dyk rolls Johnson from Aberdeen and secures the pin late in the second period to advance to the finals.

Despite a solid first round, the Governors have four wrestlers lose in the semifinals, requiring a win in the consolation finals to advance to the state tournament.  Cade Hinkle won by pin against Janssen (Todd County) in the opening round, but then fell to Mitchell's Cole Gehrke by 5-3 decision in the semifinals.  In the wrestle-backs Hinkle won by fall in :26 and then defeated Mitzel (Aberdeen) 6-1 to finish third.  Barry Browning also finished third overall and his path included a :58 pin over Fredericks from Mitchell before losing 3-1 against Jarrott (Aberdeen) in the semifinals.  Browning secured a return trip to the state tournament with a :28 second pin in the consolation semifinals and then pinned Evans (Chamberlain) in his final match.  Maguire Raske advanced to the semifinals with a first-round bye where he lost by pin to Stoebner (Aberdeen).  In the wrestlebacks he won by major over Holtquiest and then defeated Schoenfelder (Mitchell) by major as well to finish in the third place spot.

Maguire Raske works to secure Stoebner from Aberdeen during their semifinal match.

The lone fourth-place finish came from Hayden Shaffer who won his first round match by pin over Sparks from Mitchell then lost a major decision against Salfrank (Aberdeen) in the semifinals.  In a must-win match in the wrestle-backs, Shaffer found himself down 2-0 at the conclusion of the first period against Harris from Huron who then chose down to start the second period.  On top, Shaffer secured an early cradle and then with just three seconds left generated the much-needed pin to punch his ticket to his first state tournament as an eighth-grader. In his final match, Shaffer lost 7-2 against Skudstad from Chamberlain. When reflecting on the places where wrestlers may be impacted by loses on Saturday, Heasley noted "As far as losses, I think losing to Chamberlain at 106, Mitchell at 138, Aberdeen at 152 and 170 were big losses for us.  These are all matches we can and need to win next weekend." 

Only two Governors were unable to advance to the state tournament on Saturday.  Garrett Leesman lost his opening match 1-0 to former Governor wrestler DJ High Bear (Eagle Butte), and then after earning a second-period pin in the wrestle-backs, he lost a 2-1 decision against Max from Mitchell.  Gunnar Gehring also lost his opening round match by major to #1 seed Siemonsma (Huron) then was able to win with a pin in the wrestle-backs before losing a tight 2-1 loss in overtime in the consolation semifinals. "You want to take all 14 wrestlers to the state tournament because any points that you can get help," indicated Heasely.  "As far as Leesman goes I feel he could have maybe placed, but he had a very up and down season with some good wins that we can build off for next season.  Gunnar had a tough season at 220lbs but came a long way from the beginning of the season.  I would have loved to see Gunnar make the state tournament because I know how hard he has been working."  

Gunner Gehring earns an escape to take his final match into overtime but eventually lost 2-1 in the sudden victory period. 

The Governors will practice at home the first three days this week, then travel to Sioux Falls on Thursday for a practice session at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.  Wrestling will begin at 10:00 on Friday morning, and the quarterfinal and wrestle-back session beginning at 3:00 later that afternoon to determine the place winners for each weight class.  The Governors will need to wrestle in peak form this coming weekend to fend off tough Rapid City Steven's and Sturgis teams who are vying to get themselves back to the top of the award stand. Lewis's goal this week is to keep the team focused as "We look to our first matches and keep focused on individual goals.  If we all stay focused on individual goals our ultimate team goal will take care of itself."  

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Govs Finish 2nd at Final Regular Season Tournament

The Governor wrestling team traveled to Yankton on Saturday to compete in their final regular season tournament at the Yankton Invitational.  Despite being slightly shorthanded with three varsity wrestlers out of the lineup, the Governors were still able to earn a runner-up finish just 8.5 points behind Rapid City Stevens (who was also short one of their top-rated wrestlers).  The Governors advanced four wrestlers into the finals coming away with three individual champions in seniors Michael Lusk, Austin Senger, and Pryce Dyk.  Eleven other wrestlers (including two competing as unattached) were also able to secure a spot on the podium at the event.  "As a team, we are right where we need to be at this point in the season," said head coach Shawn Lewis.  "We are learning from our losses and extending our gaps in our wins.  Our kids are getting energized and healthy at the right time.  We are primed to make another State Title  run with everything we have."  

Governor seniors coming away with individual titles at the Yankton Invitational included Austin Senger, Pryce Dyk, and Michael Lusk.

Three seniors took advantage of their final regular season tournament coming away with individual titles.  At 145lbs,  Michael Lusk opened with a first-round bye then pinned teammate Lee Snyder in the quarterfinals, before winning 5-0 over Jackson (Douglas) in the semifinals.  The championship match pitted Lusk against #2 ranked Hage (Vermillion) who he defeated last week 5-3 to retain his #1 ranking.  Lusk extended the gap this week with a 5-2 victory to win his first Yankton Invitational title.  Classmate Austin Senger avenged a tight loss to #1 ranked Briggs Havlik (Mitchell) in the championship match with a 3-1 victory.  In route to the final, Senger also earned a first-round bye, before pinning Treadway (Lincoln), and then winning 3-2 against #1 ranked Class B wrestler at this weight class in Crownover (Bon Homme).  Senger will face off against Havlik again in two weeks as they head into the region tournament where the #1, #2, and #3 ranked wrestlers all compete in Region 3.  

Michael Lusk stalks Trey Hage during their finals match which was won by Lusk 5-2. 

The other Governor champion was Pryce Dyk, who earned his second individual title in over the past eight days as he pinned his way through the tournament.  Also earning an opening round bye, Dyk pinned Dagel (Roosevelt) and Lamberty (O-Gorman) in the first period during the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.  In the finals, Dyk pinned Dawson Lensing (Wagner) in the second period to close out his final regular-season tournament on top of the podium. Having these three seniors win in their final regular-season tournament was an added benefit to the Governor coaching staff.  Assistant coach Travis Heasley noted "I think it makes all the hard work you have had over your career worth it.  Whenever you can have a title on your last tournament its a great feeling which we hope carries forward to the final match of their career."  Also advancing to the finals was Gage Gehring who had impressive wins against Knodell (Stevens) who had previously defeated Gehring twice earlier this year.  With the 10-4 quarterfinal win over Knodell, Gehring then won 7-5 against Otta (Roosevelt) for the second straight week, but then lost in the ultimate tiebreaker in the finals 6-5 against St. Pierre (Wagner) to finish second on the day. 

Austin Senger engages Mitchell's Bryce Havlik during their finals match.  Senger held on to secure the 3-1 victory against the #1 wrestler at 160lbs. 

Four Governors were able to advance to the consolation championships and finish either third or fourth on Saturday.  Jack Van Camp won by pin in his opening two matches before losing by tech fall against #1 ranked Anglin (Vermillion).  In the consolation semifinals, Van Camp pinned Momotic (Roosevelt), before avenging two straight losses to Ryan McGinnis with a 5-1 victory to finish third.  Maguire Raske also finished third at the tournament with an opening round pin before losing to Witte (O-Gorman) in the semifinals.  He then came back to win by pin and then secured a 5-1 victory in the final round.  Hayden Shaffer finished fourth overall with a 9-5 loss to Stoller (Madison) during the final round.  However, he earned bonus for the Governors with a pin and major during the first two rounds before losing 5-0 to the eventual tournament champion Malone (Stevens).  Also in the consolation finals was Cade Hinkle who won by major decision in the opening round, then lost to #1 ranked B wrestler Kaleb Crownover (Bon Homme) in the quarterfinals.  Hinkle battled back with three straight pins over Marquardt, Gehrke, and then highly ranked Sharke (Steven) to advance to the third-place match.  There he faced Crownover a second time and lost by fall in the middle of the second period. 

Maguire Raske works to turn Owen Warren Warren from Yankton during their consolation finals match.  Raske secured the 5-1 victory to finish 3rd overall. 

As an unattached wrestler at 145lbs, Lee Snyder was successful at earning a fifth place finish overall with a 4-2 record at the tournament.  He won by pin in the opening round, before losing to teammate Michael Lusk.  In the wrestle-backs he won the next two round before losing 5-0 against #4 ranked Voorhees (Steven), and then defeated Johnson (Bon Homme) 5-2 to earn the fifth-place medal. Gunnar Gehring also found himself in the 5th place match taking a longer route than Snyder following an opening-round loss.  He then won three matches in the wrestle-backs before then losing his final two matches by pin to finish sixth.  

The remaining placers for the Governors include Jace Bench-Bresher who finished seventh.  In the quarterfinals he lost a close 4-2 match against Klinkhammer (Brookings) then following a pin in the wrestle-backs he lost to Williams before defeating Rueb (Bon Homme) for the seventh place victory.  Tyson Johnson also landed on the podium for the second straight week as an unattached wrestler with a 3-2 record.  He lost to #2 ranked BeVier in the quarterfinals then a win over Wilson (Douglas) led to a sudden victory loss over Momotic.  He then won by fall during his final match to finish seventh.  Also as an unattached wrestler at 160lbs, Logan Meyer capped off his final varsity appearance with a 3-2 performance and a seventh-place finish.  Despite not earning points for the team, Meyer generated three victories by pin and earned the Pinners Award at the end of the tournament as the wrestler with the most pins in the least amount of time. "Kids like Logan help push others in the room every day and when called upon they always step up and fill a spot," said Heasley of Logan's contribution to the team.  "Logan has had to fill a lot of different spots this year and has always stepped up.  I was proud of Logan letting it fly this weekend and placing.  Also, it was awesome for him to win the pinner award as well."  Barry Browning also finished seventh with two losses to Class B opponents, one in the quarterfinals and then again in the third round wrestle-backs. He finished the tournament with a :36 pin against Hage (Vermillion).  Of the five that competed for a seventh-place finish, James Lees was the only Governor to not win in this final round. Lees went 2-2 on the day and finished 8th overall following a 14-5 major decision to Konzem (Roosevelt).  

Hayden Shaffer holds down Madison's Truman Stoller during their consolation finals match.  Shaffer went on to lose a 9-5 decision and finish fourth overall. 

A number of other Governor wrestlers also competed at the event but did not find themselves on the award stand at the end of the day.  This included Daniel Tafoya filling in at 120lbs, and Jaret Clarke, Cobey Carr and Justyce Murphy who were able to enter the tournament as unattached wrestlers. Lewis noted that "we had some important wins for us over the weekend that could impact state tournament seeding including Hinkle's win over Sharkey, Senger defeating Havlik, Lusk over Hage for the second time, and then Gehring with solid victories over Knodell and Otta.  However, Shaffers loss to Stoller and Jace's loss to Kilkhammer could adversely impact their seeding in a few weeks."  This coming week the Governors will look to knock off Harrisburg in a dual that could ensure a tie for the ESD team title as they compete in front of the home crowd at T.F. Riggs on Friday evening.  JV action is set to begin at 6:00 with varsity to follow at 7:00.  Individual performance for the Governors on Saturday include:
  • 106 – Hayden Shaffer – 4th (3-2)
  • 113 – Jace Bench Bresher – 7th (2-2)
  • 120 – Daniel Tafoya – DNP (1-2)
  • 126 – Jack Van Camp – 3rd (4-1)
  • 126 – Tyson Johnson – 7th (2-2)
  • 138 – Cade Hinkle – 4th (4-2)
  • 145 – Michael Lusk – 1st (3-0)
  • 145 – Lee Snyder – 5th (4-2)
  • 152 – Barry Browning - 7th (3-2)
  • 152 - Jaret Clarke - DNP (1-2)
  • 152 - Cobey Carr - DNP (1-2)
  • 160 – Austin Senger – 1st (3-0)
  • 160 – Logan Meyer – 7th (3-2)
  • 170 – Maguire Raske – 3rd (3-1)
  • 182 – James Lees – 8th (2-3)
  • 195 – Gage Gehring – 2nd (2-1)
  • 220 – Gunnar Gehring – 6th (2-3)
  • 285 - Justyce Murphy = DNP (0-2)
  • 285 – Pryce Dyk – 1st (3-0)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Governors Dominate Class A Field in Brookings

For the third straight year, the Governor Wrestling team outpaced the field of teams at the Les Tlustos Invitational in Brookings despite having two starters out of the lineup.  The tournament provided the Governors the opportunity to square off against a number of teams they seldom see throughout the year including Dell Rapids, Sioux Falls Lincoln, Washington, and Roosevelt, West Central, Madison, and Lennox just to name a few.  Across the field of 15 teams, the tournament boasted a number of top rated wrestlers and at least two #1 vs. #2 match-ups in the finals which included seven Governors (Bench Bresher, Will Turman, Lusk, Senger, Raske, Gage Gehring, and Pryce Dyk).  As the HWT matches concluded in the afternoon on Saturday, three Governors were crowned champions of their respective weight classes, and team out-paced Brandon Valley by 31.5 points to earn 239.5 points as a team.  The team was also able to wrestle a number of unattached wrestlers including Lee Snyder and Logan Meyer, as well as Tyson Johnson who finished with an impressive sixth place finish. Despite having a few JV wrestlers fill in at two weight classes, “We had all but one varsity wrestler win at least one match to score points for the team,” said head coach Shawn Lewis.  “When everyone can contribute to the cause we are hard to beat, and our big scorers did their usual putting seven in the finals.”

Hayden Shaffer defends a shot from Bahm (Yankton) during his quarterfinal match.  Shaffer went on to major Bahm and finished third overall. 

William Turman advanced to the finals with three straight pins. This included a first-period pin over the #4 ranked Kadoun from Sioux Falls Roosevelt in the semifinal match.  In the finals, Turman jumped out to a 7-0 lead before pinning #5 ranked Mennis (Madison) with :01 remaining at the end of the second period.  Four years ago Turman placed 5th at this event as an unattached wrestler behind Austin Senger to place at his first varsity tournament.  With the pin over Mennis, Turman has generated a perfect 16-0 record with four straight individual titles at the Les Tlustos since that time.  Senior classmate Michael Lusk continued his unbeaten streak over in-state opponents as he defeated Trey Hage (Vermillion) 5-3 during their championship match. In route to the finals, Lusk defeated Heidbrink (Brandon Valley) by tech fall, then pinned Tellus (Yankton), and then generated an 18-4 major decision over  Carpenter (Mitchell) in the semifinals.  During the finals, Lusk scored two critical takedowns in the first period and then fended off a number of attacks by Hage throughout the second and third period to pull out the 5-3 victory over the #2 ranked wrestler at 145lbs.  “Both of these matches boiled down to two simple things,” said Lewis, “staying in good position at all times and being offensive.  Both wrestlers controlled the matches from start to finish.” 

William Turman finishes a takedown in his opening match against Damon Crane (West Central).  Turman finished the match with a first period pin and placed first overall. 

Pryce Dyk continued an impressive run over the past eight days as he earned the #1 seed in Brookings and proceeded to pin Rodriquez (Brandon Valley) and Ellis (Yankton) during his quarterfinal and semifinal matches.  In the finals, Dyk scored a takedown midway through the match against Krohnke (Brandon) and then extended the lead to 3-1 with an escape during the second period.  Following a scramble that initially looked like Krohnke would score a takedown to tie the match in the third period, Dyk came out on top for a takedown of his own and nearfall to win the match 8-1.  The individual title was the first in Dyk’s career with the Governors. "When Pryce is being offensive on his feet he is very hard to beat," said assistant coach Travis Heasley.  "He has to continue to push the pace and his shots will continue to come. Pryce placing high at the state tournament is a very big part of this team reaching their goal of winning the championship."  

Pryce Dyk works for a pin against Isaac Rodriquez (Brandon Valley) during his quarterfinal match, and finished first overall in his bracket. 

Four other Governors were successful in advancing to the finals on Saturday but were unsuccessful in pulling out the win in the final match.  Jace Bench-Bresher advanced into the semifinals with a bye in the opening round and then a pin over Heumiller (West Central) before defeating Williams (Lennox) in a tight 5-4 match.  In the finals, Bench-Bresher lost 10-4 against #1 ranked Hollingshead (Roosevelt) to finish in the runner-up spot on the podium.  The 160lbs weight-class produced a #1 vs. #2 match-up as Austin Senger faced Havlik (Mitchell) in what would be their four-match of the season.  After a scoreless first period, Havlik earned an escape and takedown in the second period.  Senger countered with an escape of his own midway through the third period and despite a throw with his feet remaining in bounds with :03 remaining, the official did not award a much-needed takedown to take the match into overtime.  Senger advanced to the finals with an opening round bye, a pin over Bowes (Brookings) and a 6-3 win over Hodges (Madison) in the semifinals.

Austin Senger works for a turn against Logan Bowes (Brookings).  After securing the first-period pin, Senger advanced to the finals where he eventually lost to Havlik (Mitchell). 

Maguire Raske secured a #2 seed at 170lbs and won by pin in the quarterfinals over Pletten (Brandon) following a first-round bye.  In the semifinals, Raske won an impressive victory over Kpeayeh (SF Washington) 11-7.  In the final, he was majored by Nick Schirado (Harrisburg), the current #3 ranked wrestler, 11-1 to finish in 2nd place.  Gage Gehring was the last Governor in the finals who’s path include an opening round bye before pinning Lembcke (Brandon) in the quarterfinals.  Gehring then wrestled #2 rated Otta (Roosevelt) where he racked up a 14-7 victory.  In the finals, he eventually lost 3-1 to Max (Mitchell) in the third match among these two wrestlers in the last three weeks.

After losing in the semifinals both Hayden Shaffer and Barry Browning were successful in their consolation semifinal matches and advanced to wrestle for third late on Saturday afternoon.  Hayden Shaffer won by fall over Eidem (Washington) in the opening round then won by major over Bahm (Yankton).  In the semifinals, he lost 4-0 to Archer (Brookings) then pinned his two final opponents on the back-side of the bracket to finish third.  Barry Browning won by pin in the opening round, then defeated Burris (RC Central) 7-3 in the quarterfinals.  In a high scoring affair during the semifinals, Browning found himself in overtime against the #1 seed (Johnson from Madison) but gave up a takedown in sudden victory to lose 11-13.  He concluded the day with a tech fall in the consolation semifinals before defeating Burris a second time for third place.

Barry Browning turns the corner to finish a takedown against Johnson (Madison) during his seminal match.  Despite an overtime loss to Johnson, Browning returned to eventually finish 3rd. 

Jack Van Camp advanced to the semifinals with a tech fall and decision in the opening two rounds.  He then lost to McGinnis (Mitchell) 3-1 when he was unable to score a takedown late in the third period.  In the wrestle-backs he lost to Kraye (RC Central) and then won by injury default over Tyson Johnson to finish with 5th place.  Cade Hinkle produced a 4-3 victory over Lehman from Brookings in the quarterfinals then lost to Stoebner 7-1 in the semifinals.  In the wrestle-backs, he lost 6-5 to Ideker (West Central) and then lost 3-2 against Lehman to finish sixth overall. As an unattached wrestler, Tyson Johnson lost his opening round match against Kraye, but stayed alive in the wrestle backs with four straight wins.  He injury defaulted against Van Camp for the fifth-place match from an injury suffered earlier during the tournament.  Filling in for an injured Lincoln Turman, Daniel Tafoya ended the day with a seventh-place finish after suffering an opening round loss to Thibeault (RC Central).  He was able to win the two next matches before losing to Marshall (Harrisburg).  He finished off the tournament with a 1-0 victory over Taniah (SF Washington) to earn the 7th place finish. "Daniel and Tyson have continued to get better each time they have wrestled," noted Heasley.  "They both work hard in the room and its showing on the mat.  Wrestling at these tournaments helps them gain experience and confidence at the varsity level, and they both will be a big part of this team for the next three years and this experience will help them be successful in the future."  

Daniel Tafoya attempts a single leg attack against Ethan Thibeault (RC Central) during his opening round match.  Despite a loss during this round, Tafoya returned to finish seventh overall. 

The tournament was cut short for a small number of Governor wrestlers who didn’t make it on to the podium on Saturday.  Gunnar Gehring lost his opening match and then lost 6-0 to Miller (Brookings) in the second round of the wrestle backs.  James Lees lost by fall to Kraye (RC Central) in the opening round, then won a 10-4 decision over Ihnen (Brandon Valley) before losing his last match.  Finally, both Logan Meyer (160) and Lee Snyder (145) wrestled unattached but were unable to generate wins during competition at the event.  A number of the wins throughout the tournament certainly have state tournament seeding implications.  “Shaffer beating the Dell Rapids wrestlers in the consolation semifinals, and Hinkle going 2-1 against Lehman from Brookings could be critical,” said Lewis.  “However, others are still up in the air because of match-ups we could see in Yankton.”  

The Governors continue wrestling action with an ESD dual against Huron on Thursday and then travel to Yankton this coming Saturday, where they will face off against 20 Class A and B teams at their invitational.  With one more home dual on February 9th the postseason is fast approaching as the Governor's head into the homestretch toward the State Class A Tournament. Individual performances for each of the Governors on Saturday include:

  • 106lbs – Hayden Shaffer – 3rd (4-1)
  • 113lbs – Jace Bench Bresher – 2nd (3-1)
  • 120 – Daniel Tafoya – 7th (3-2)
  • 126 – Jack Van Camp – 5th (3-2)
  • 126 – Tyson Johnson – 6th (3-3)
  • 132 – William Turman – 1st (4-0)
  • 138 – Cade Hinkle – 6th (2-3)
  • 145 – Michael Lusk – 1st (4-0)
  • 145 – Lee Snyder – DNP (0-2)
  • 152 – Barry Browning - 3rd (4-1)
  • 160 – Austin Senger – 2nd (2-1)
  • 160 – Logan Meyer – DNP (0-2)
  • 170 – Maguire Raske – 2nd (2-1)
  • 182 – James Lees – DNP (1-2)
  • 195 – Gage Gehring – 2nd (3-1)
  • 220 – Gunnar Gehring – DNP (0-2)
  • 285 – Pryce Dyk – 1st (3-0)

Monday, January 22, 2018

Governors Knock off #1, #3 and #4 at East vs. West Duals

Over the past seven years the East vs. West Dual Tournament has produced a number of exciting match-ups making it worth the price of admission for wrestling fans in central South Dakota. In route to their second state Class A title in 2013, the Governors faced a loaded Rapid City Central team designed for dual wins and escaped with the victory following an overtime win by Dylan Bennett.  Fast forward three years and the Governors faced a similar challenge, needing a win at HWT which was eventually secured by Levi Stoltenburg in a come-from-behind victory.  There are plenty other examples of key dual team match-ups made possible by this tournament, but to date, the field of teams has never been so impressive.  From the first whistle on Saturday morning fans were exposed to six of the top ten ranked team in the state as they squared off against each other to determine what can be described as the informal Class A Dual team championship.  The Governors went head-to-head with Sturgis (#3), Rapid City Central (#4) and Rapid City Steven (#1) in consecutive duals with a goal of establishing themselves as one of the most formidable dual teams over the past seven years. As the tournament concluded late on Saturday evening, the Governors concluded their three duals with a 3-0 record, ensuring the seventh straight year without a dual loss at this difficult event. "Success at East vs. West Duals has happened because of many different reasons," said head coach Shawn Lewis.  "Being in our gym and having the home crowd behind us is one that is easily overlooked but cannot be forgotten.  Taking the approach of one position, one match, and one dual at a time is something that our kids have really bought into over the years.  Lastly, East vs. West Duals was the equivalent of a Dual State Tournament.  Our kids have always wanted to prove that along with our ESD Duals and this event that we have beaten the best teams in the state."

Michael Lusk works to free himself from Wren Jacobs during the Sturgis dual.  

The Governors began action with #3 ranked Sturgis, and from the opening weight class, the Scoopers began making a number of line-up changes in an effort to generate early team points.  At 106lbs Hayden Shaffer lost an overtime to Olson, as Sturgis bumped #1 ranked Wood up to face Jace Bench-Bresher.  However, the 113lbs match took an extra period before Wood secured a 4-2 victory in overtime.  Lincoln Turman then earned a major over #3 ranked Permann who also bumped up from 113lbs, and then Jack Van Camp generated important bonus points with a pin over #5 ranked 120lber Shae Owens.  At 132lbs, William Turman won by tech fall over Burnham to generate a 15-6 lead for the Governors, which was further extended following wins by Cade Hinkle and Michael Lusk.  The Scoopers closed the gap slightly when #2 ranked Brengle defeated Barry Browning 3-0, but then the Governors secured two straight pins by Austin Senger and Maguire Raske, and then two back-to-back major decisions by Garrett Leesman and Gage Gehring to establish a 41-9 lead.  Number one ranked Carpenter pinned Gunnar Gehring at 220lbs, and then Pryce Dyk returned with a pin at 285lbs to finalize the dual with a commanding 47-15 victory.  "In this dual, they bumped their weights down low," noted Lewis and "this ultimately backfired a bit on them as we limited any bonus that they thought they may be getting and got some bonus of our own in return."

William Turman attempts to pin Justin Burnham during their 132lb match. 

For the second dual of the day, the Governor's began shifting early at the lighter weights against Rapid City Central, having Kahlor Hindman fill the 106lb spot against #2 ranked Larson where he lost by tech fall in the second period.  Hayden Shaffer shifted up a weight class and defeated Thompson in overtime before Thibeault defeated Jace Bench-Bresher 7-6 as he filled in for Lincoln Turman at 120lbs.  "Matchups were very important," indicated assistant coach Travis Heasley, "but even more important was for everyone to do their jobs.  We have a great group of kids who never complain about bumping up to face someone.  They all love competition and it shows when they go out and compete like they did this weekend."  Those would be the last points generated by Central for some time as Jack Van Camp and William Turman both secured decisions against Kraye and Morrison, to be followed by a pin for Cade Hinkle against Filipek.  The Cobblers forfeited to #1 ranked Michael Lusk at 145 and Barry Browning and Austin Senger picked up to decisions to extend the Governor lead to 27-8.  Bridger Kraye (#3 ranked at 182lbs) dropped down to fill a gap for the Cobblers at 170 and defeated Maguire Raske 11-3, and then Leesman lost a close 9-7 battle against Smith bringing the dual within twelve with three matches to go.  However, Gage Gehring locked up the dual with a pin over LaRoche, as Gunnar Ghering lost to #3 ranked Thompson by major decision.  Pryce Dyk closed out the dual with a pin over Olson resulting in a 39-19 victory.

Garrett Leesman attempts to maintain control over Smith from Rapid City Central during their 182lb match. 

Saving the best match-up for last, the Governors closed out the dual against the #1 ranked Rapid City Steven. Hayden Shaffer opened the dual with a 9-0 loss to #4 ranked Darien Malone, which was followed by a 7-2 victory for Jace Bench-Bresher over Declan Malone.  Back into the line-up, Lincoln Turman won by pin over Landen Fischer in the first period, before Jack Van Camp lost to #2 ranked Cody BeVier by 3-0 decision.  William Turman extended the Governors lead further with a first period pin over Logen Fischer in the first period producing a 15-7 lead.  Despite a very valiant effort by Cade Hinkle over #1 ranked Sharkey at 138lbs, he fell short when Sharkey secured a takedown late in the third for a 6-5 victory.  Michael Lusk then defeated Voorhees 5-2, and Stevens countered with an 8-3 victory by Allen over Barry Browning bringing the dual score within 5 for an 18-13 lead for the Governors.  Austin Senger generated needed bonus points with a pin over Fuegen, and Maguire Raske defeated Brink 3-0 to extend the gap with a 27-13 lead.  At 182lbs, the Governors inserted James Lees to wrestle #1 ranked Colicheski who lost by fall and shifted Garrett Leesman up to 195 to face off against Anthony Knodell.  Leesman secured a late takedown and back points to win a 5-1 match and Gage Gehring move up to 220lbs to compete against #4 ranked McMath who he also defeated with a late scoring opportunity 5-4.  With the victory sewn up, Pryce Dyk defeated Patterson 8-3 to further extend the gap with a 36-19 victory.  The shifts made by the Governor coaching staff certainly paid off as Leesman and Gehring were both able to secure victories that during previous match-ups this season did not occur.  When considering the amount of shifting that was necessary by all teams Lewis noted "It is always a bit of a gamble bumping kids out of their weight class and up into another.  As a coaching staff, you have to determine the risk versus reward of the move.  You also have to have the confidence in your kids to make such a move.  You only make the move if you think the match-up turns favorable toward your team."

Jace Bench Bresher attempts to free himself from the bottom during his match against Jacob Wood during the Sturgis dual. 

This coming week the Governors travel to Brookings on Friday for another important ESD dual and then will remain there on Saturday to compete at the Brookings Invitational.  Over the course of the three duals, the individual performance for Governor wrestlers included:
  • 106 - Hayden Shaffer - (1-2)
  • 113 - Jace Bench-Bresher - (1-2)
  • 120 - Lincoln Turman - (2-0)
  • 126 - Jack Van Camp - (2-1)
  • 132 - William Turman - (3-0)
  • 138 - Cade Hinkle - (2-1)
  • 145 - Michael Lusk - (3-0)
  • 152 - Barry Browning - (2-1)
  • 160 - Austin Senger - (3-0)
  • 170 - Maguire Raske - (2-1)
  • 182 - Garrett Leesman - (2-1)
  • 195 - Gage Gehring - (3-0)
  • 220 - Gunner Gehring - (0-2)
  • 285 - Pryce Dyk - (3-0)