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)