Eight area wrestlers win titles at Class B tourney
ABERDEEN -- The championship round of the Class B state tournament at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen Saturday included 11 wrestlers from six area teams, with eight taking home a first-place medal.
The eight champions from the area accounted for more than half of the 14 wrestlers who ended the tournament on the top of the podium. Familiar names won during the championship round, as four of the eight area winners completed a second or third championship run and just one is a senior.
The championship round started and ended with Bon Homme/Scotland wrestlers getting their hands raised.
Junior Duncan Stoebner got things started for BH/S against Winner’s Patrick Aeschbacher, the only matchup in the championship round with two area competitors. Stoebner, the son of BH/S wrestling coach Mark Stoebner, controlled the match and pinned Aeschbacher in the third period at the 4 minute, 51 second mark.
“It was nerve wracking leading up to Duncan’s match,” Mark Stoebner said about watching his son compete for the title.
Duncan Stoebner finished the meet with two pins, a major decision and a win by default in the quarterfinals.
“My first title was more of a relief, while this one was really exciting because I knew I had a target on my back,” Duncan Stoebner said.
Sophomore Alex Caba kept the momentum rolling for BH/S, taking the 120-pound championship with a win over Groton Area’s Kelby Hawkins in a 4-1 decision. With the match still scoreless in the final moments of the third period, Caba made a move.
“I saw the clock out of the corner of my eye and just waited for him to make a mistake so I could counter and score,” Caba said.
The win was the first for Caba after placing as a runner up last year. Coach Stoebner said Caba left the meet in 2013 with a bad taste in his mouth and a determination to finish on top this season.
BH/S waited for its third championship until the last of 420 matches contested at the Class B tournament. Heavyweight Dan Stibral (285) completed an undefeated season with a 3-2 double-overtime decision over Lemmon/McIntosh’s Brody Peterson.
“Dan has been in a few of those matches this year,” Mark Stoebner said. “I think it gave him confidence knowing that he’d been there before.”
The senior held on to start the second overtime period and took advantage when he got his chance to escape for the win.
“It was the toughest match of the year and I expected that,” said Stibral, who was 40-0 this season.
Stibral is one of three Class B champions to finish the year undefeated.
BH/S finished fifth as a team with 106 points, despite bringing just seven wrestlers to the meet.
“The three guys that won for us were ranked No. 1 for most of the year and we thought coming in, that if they wrestled to their abilities that they would have a shot,” Stoebner said.
Howard doubles up
Since he can remember, Bailey Nieses has dreamed of winning a state title, and in the 126-pound final, he realized that dream.
“I knew last year I got a little too worked up, but this year I just wanted to go out and have fun,” said Nieses, who topped Philip Area’s Jed Brown in a close 4-3 decision for his first title.
After winning, the Howard junior gave the crowd one of the moments of the tournament, when he took a flying leap into his coach Tyler Dahl’s arms and was carried off the mat in celebration.
The win repaired the sour feelings Nieses had from his fourth-place finish last year. He talked about how he watched teammate Luke Loudenburg win last year and knowing it could have been him doing the same.
This year, Nieses joined Loudenburg atop the podium.
Loudenburg continued his assault on Class B wrestling, capturing a third-straight championship with a 9-4 decision over Philip’s Rance Johnson in the 132-pound final. Loudenburg won at 120 pounds in 2013 and at 106 in 2012.
The junior said he understands the elite class he has put himself in and wants to become a four-time champion. There have been 12 Class B wrestlers to win four or more titles, and Loudenburg will look to become the first to join the class as a Tiger next year.
“It’s one of those honors that not a lot of people can say they have gotten to,” Loudenburg said. “Once you get here, you have got to stay here.”
Howard placed as a team with 79 points, good enough for seventh place.
Wagner’s Kocer wins in familiar fashion
One of the most anticipated matchups of the final round came when Wagner’s David Kocer squared off with Philip’s Chandlier Sudbeck in a rematch of the 2013 160-pound final.
This year, the two met in the 170-pound championship with Kocer getting the better of Sudbeck again, this time on a 3-2 decision.
“I knew it was going to be exciting because he is great wrestler,” Kocer said. “I saw him in the first tournament and I thought I might see him again.”
Kocer said he is undecided about his future, but is thinking of joining his brother, Alex Kocer, on the South Dakota State University wrestling team.
Sean Bice wins convincingly
Winner senior Sean Bice knew it would be tough to beat a good wrestler he has seen three times in one season, but he accomplished that, topping Webster Area’s Nolan Richie 9-3 in the 138-pound Class B final.
“When you wrestle a guy three times, you get to know what he is going to do, but he knows your moves as well,” Bice said.
Bice had been in the final before, falling as a sophomore to Tri-Valley’s Ryan Schuman.
“When I was a sophomore, I got complacent and was just excited to be in the finals,” Bice said. “But you can’t do that. You’ve got to go out there to win.”
Bice did plenty of winning this year, compiling a 46-1 overall record for the Warriors, who placed eighth as a team with 72.5 points.
Parkston’ champion of champions
Through all of the dominance shown by Parkston en route to a second-straight Class B state title, only two Trojans made the championship round.
After senior Mitch Heisinger fell in his 182-pound championship match to Beresford’s Josh Casperson, Parkston got its champion in the second to last match of the tournament.
Junior Brady Reiff claimed his second-consecutive 220-pound state title with an impressive 9-2 win over Chase Schoenhard, of Mobridge-Pollock.
“I just wanted to go out there and finish business for this team,” Reiff said. “It’s great, but the team championship is what’s important.”
Riley Reiff, Parkston native and offensive lineman for the Detroit Lions, was in attendance to watch his brother, but declined comment.
Levi Schoenbaum, of Burke/Gregory, also competed in the finals, falling 1-0 to Tri-Valley’s Ryan Schuman at 145 pounds. Other champions from Class B included Beresford’s Dakota Galt (106) and Josh Casperson (182), Philip’s Lane Blasius (152), Flandreau’s Jace Christiansen (160) and Elk-Point Jefferson’s Lukas Forsling (195).