Fans for the Governor Wrestling program have come to have high expectations when it comes to the Class A State Tournament competition. Over the past five years, the Governors have been fortunate to bring home four championship and one runner-up trophy, along with twenty state finalist that were able to win nine individual state championships. After this weekend's competition these impressive numbers can increase to five team titles, including three over the past three years, and thirteen state champions across twenty-four final appearances. The Governors locked up the team title late on Saturday as nine of the thirteen qualifiers advanced into the placing round after competition on Friday, with all nine placing sixth or higher following the conclusion of the final round of action.
The Governor Wrestling team poses with their State Championship trophy at the conclusion of the State Class A Tournament (photo courtesy of SDPBS)
At the conclusion of the first round things looked tight for the team race as the Governors established a 3.5 point lead over Sturgis. That lead increased to 11.5 points after the second round wrestle backs as seven Governors advanced to the semifinals, and two others won in the wrestle backs to secure a spot on the podium. A solid performance throughout the morning and early afternoon on Saturday allowed the gap to widen considerably and the Governors needed only one or two wins to ensure that Sturgis or Aberdeen Central could not mount a comeback during the closing round. When the dust finally settled, the Governors had won seven of their nine closing bouts including all four championship matches and outscored Aberdeen Central 181.5 to 144.5 to win yet another State Class A title. "Our overall performance during the state tournament was great," said head coach Shawn Lewis. "It was filled with challenges as every state tournament is. We had a bunch of kids battling sickness but pushing through it. Friday we wrestled a bit tight, but as the tournament continues and matches got tougher we responded by wrestling our best. When the tournament got tougher so did we."
Lincoln Turman advanced to the semifinals with a 5-0 win over Max Donovan from Chamberlain and then defeated Eli Kadoun from SF Roosevelt 6-2 to earn his second trip to the state finals. Following his semifinal match, Turman was transported to the ER as he struggled to overcome flu-like symptoms. After an IV to re-hydrate Turman faced off against #2 ranked Lucas Anglin who challenged him in two tight 2-0 and 3-1 matches earlier this year. Scoreless after the first period, Turman escaped in the second period and then fought off attacks from Anglin for the three remaining minutes of the match to win 1-0 and repeat as a Class A State Champion following a 46-0 campaign at 106lbs last year. "Not seeing Lincoln all day we were unsure of the condition he was in," said assistant coach John Wayne Kalda. "We all saw how he felt after his semifinal match, which in itself was a gutsy performance. When he did make it back he obviously wasn't himself. He wasn't active. But there was a moment about five minutes before his match started where a switch flipped and he all of a sudden had a little bounce in his step. Was it Adrenaline, IV's, determination to not let this opportunity to slip away? No clue, but whatever it was we could tell good things were going to happen."
Lincoln Turman works to earn an escape against Vermillion's Lucas Anglin during their championship match. Turman was able to secure the 1-0 lead to repeat as Class A Champion (photo courtesy of SDPBS).
His twin brother William Turman won by pin over Robert Coyle from Watertown in the quarterfinals, then secure a 13-0 major decision against Collin Powell from Chamberlain. Advancing to his third straight state finals, Turman competed against #1 ranked Cody Bevier from RC Stevens who had given him two of his four losses on the year. Similar to the 113lb finals, a scoreless first period led to an early escape in the second period. Bevier chose down in the third and William Turman rode him out to win his third Class A State title with a 1-0 victory. After the match Lewis indicated "Going into the finals match Will knew he had to try and dictate where the match was wrestled and maintain his positioing from his feet. Bevier has a great double leg attack and is really fast. Making him wrestle at a lower level and his attacking from that position took his best offense away. From that point on it gets pretty simple, score from the bottom and ride tough. Game plan executed to perfection! This win came from a completely different position than his other two as he was coming in from the underdog position throwing caution to the wind an attacking. Some people are are good enough to win one, he has now found a way to win three.... and he still has another year to go."
William Turman defends on his feet against RC Steven's Cody Bevier during the 120lb finals. Turman won 1-0 to earn his third straight Class A title (photo courtesy of SDPBS).
At 132lbs, Michael Lusk secured a semifinal berth with a 4-1 win over Cully Olson from Sturgis, where he won 5-2 against Chipper Shillingstad from Huron. Lusk's finals appearance was his third as he faced the #1 rated Tyson Stoebner from Lennox who had narrowly defeated him at the Yankton Invitation just before regions. Lusk scored a takedown in the second period, which Stoebner countered with two escapes to take the match into overtime. Following a scoreless sudden victory period, Lusk escaped in the second overtime and was able to ride out Stoebner in the final :30 seconds to win his second Class A State Championship for the Governors. "If I had to use one word to describe Michael's championship match it would be 'Methodical,' said Kalda. "Our boys do such a good job executing a game plan in the big time matches. Michael is not the kind that's going to get in and hammer a kid, but he's got quickness and a knack for putting himself in good situations. He's developed a style of his own where he wears on a kid with shot after shot and never really gives them an opportunity to get offensive. There was a lot of respect in that match last night on both ends, which a lot of people take for granted sometimes in this sport."
Michael Lusk works to take down Lennox's Tyson Stoebner during their finals match. Lusk went on to win a 3-2 victory following the third overtime period (photo courtesy of SDPBS).
Spencer Sarringar scored bonus points in each of his matches with a 9-0 major decision over Mathais Thompson from RC Central in the quarterfinals and a 10-0 major over Carson Max from Mitchell in the semifinals. During his second straight finals appearance, Sarringar fell behind with a takedown by Harrisburg's Logan Warzecha in the second period, but then scored a reversal including nearfall as time expired to jump out to a 6-2 lead. Warzecha chose down in the third period, but Sarringar proved too tough on top and won his families first Class A Title at the 4:37 mark. Lewis noted after the conclusion of the match, "Seeing Spencer win a State Championship was a dream come true. Very few people get to wrestle for a championship in their last match and even fewer win that match. Spencer has been a staple in the varsity lineup for five years and worked very hard."
Spencer Sarringar stretches out Harrisburg's Logan Warzecha just before pinning him in the third period of their championship match (photo courtesy of SDPBS).
Three Governors finished in the top four for their respective weight classes, including Austin Senger who advanced to the semifinals with a 11-7 decision over Cooper Voorhees from RC Stevens where he faced off against #1 ranked Tyler Waterson. Despite a 7-0 loss to the eventual three time state champion (five time finalist), Senger returned to the wrestle backs where he pinned Kyle Tulowetzke from Watertown and then demonstrated that he deserved the #3 seed at the state meet with a commanding 7-1 win over Madison's Bailey Mennis.
Austin Senger looks toward the Governor faithful after pinning Watertown's Kyle Tulowestzke. Senger finished 3rd overall placing for the fourth time as a Governor.
Governor senior Aric Williams pinned SF Roosevelt's Josh Cid in the quarters then lost a heart breaker to Noah Guse of Madison as he fell behind 6-0 early and battled back to a 10-7 loss. In the wrestle backs, Williams pinned Jackson Pletten for Brandon Valley and then defeated frequent rival (future SDSU teammate) Riley McSherry, 6-3 to finish his Governor career placing third. "Emotions after Aric's loss were hard," said Lewis. "We knew his goal of winning a Championship were gone. We as coaches couldn't show it or let him see it because we ultimately had to get him refocused on another goal, which was to get third as his team needed him to. We had to remind him to go out the way he deserved to and he did that. He did what Aric always did and that was to work his butt off for himself and his team." Following a 7-1 loss to Tate Gatzke from Belle Fourche in the quarterfinals, Lucas Stoltenburg won his first two wrestle back matches before securing a major upset over #3 rated Mason Wickhurst from Watertown to advance into the third place match. There he lost again in a 1-0 match against Gatzke to finish fourth in his last match in a Governor singlet.
Aric Williams works to turn Madison's Noah Guse during their semifinal match. Williams finished third overall having place three times as a Governor.
Levi Stoltenburg pinned his first two opponents on Friday including a :38 second fall over Sam Detert from Harrisburg in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals Stoltenburg lost by pin against #1 ranked Joel Carpenter and then a tight 7-6 loss against Marshal Simons from Huron had him wrestling for fifth. In his final match, Stoltenburg pinned Brody Surrell from Vermillion in :44 seconds to finish fifth overall. Lastly, Ty Paulsen earned a quarterfinal bid with a first round pin, then lost in overtime to returning state champion Eddie Miller from Brookings. Two overtime victories in the wrestle-backs then resulted in a 7-0 loss to Ryan Parker. Paulsen then lost by fall to Watertown's Dane Stahl to finish sixth to conclude his career.
Ty Paulsen hangs on to Aberdeen's Austin Maunu during their overtime match at 285. Paulsen finished 6th overall improving upon his 8th place finish during his junior season for the Governors.
Five underclassman also qualified for the state tournament and earned much needed experience if the Governors are to compete for a title again next season. Freshman Jack Van Camp earned points for the team after pinning Oakley Blakeman in the opening round, but then fell to eventual champion Jacob Wood from Strugis in the quarterfinals, and Beau Beavers from SF Lincoln in the wrestle-backs. Freshmen Jace Bench-Bresher lost his opening round match, then a tight 6-3 loss against RC Centrals Tristen Jacobs. As an 8th-grader, Maguire Raske lost 6-4 against Watertown's Nathan Tuttle in the first round, then was eliminated with a 10-5 loss to Jarred Hodges from Madison. Finally, Sophomore Garrett Leesman lost by pin to returning state finalist Tate Coon from Brookings, and then 7-1 against Jake Anderson of Milbank during his final match. "There are plenty of things these guys can take with them from not placing," said Kalda. "But the key is, can they carry them over the next nine months to the first day of practice and use it as motivation to get better. We like our guys to set big goals and high expectations. Sometimes it doesn't work out, and those that can use it to drive and motive them the following year will be that much better and find themselves on the podium."
"Losing these five seniors is personally going to be tough," said Lewis. "They have always been there, every day since I have been here. Imagining a day or practice without them is hard to do." In addition to the loss of five senior wrestlers, the Governors will find themselves without longtime assistant manager Haley Dorschner who has served in this role for the past four years. "Haley has been one of the hardest workers on this team for the last four years, yet most people never see it," said Lewis. "Her work has been done in the countless hours of TrackWrestling and Hudl applications. It has also been in making cookies, keeping coaches sane, and mentoring the next group of managers. She has been a true fan of wrestling and all our wrestlers."
Despite the loss of five senior place winners, the Governors will return four juniors who have each competed in the state finals, along with four other state qualifiers. Earning this experience is important and Kalda noted "You would ideally like for all kids to be ready that first day of the tourney, but there is a pretty big shock and awe factor when you step on the mat in front of 8-10,000 fans. The other is to take those losses and learn from them. They need to be willing to see what they did wrong and work on correcting it. Of the four that didn't place, they are young and things will certainly be interesting if they take this approach." The Governors will also see Cade Hinkle and Gage Gehring who each saw considerable varsity experience this year along with HWT Price Dyk who placed at three tournaments as an unattached wrestler for the Governors.