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

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