Athlete of the Week: Region title helping Lyman’s Smith set new goalsEvan Smith was one match away from the Class B state wrestling tournament last season.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
PRESHO— Evan Smith was one match away from the Class B state wrestling tournament last season.
This season, the Lyman senior set a goal to reach the state tournament.
Smith was successful with that goal, when he won the heavyweight division at the Region 3B tournament on Saturday in Parkston to improve his record to 37-6 on the season.
Smith pinned his first opponent at the regional tournament in the first period, and then followed that with two decisions to claim the championship.
For his efforts, Smith has been named The Daily Republic’s athlete of the week, an award voted on by the newspaper’s sports staff.
“My original goal was just to make it to state,” Smith said. “But I know what I can do, and I want to try to get a championship.”
Lyman head coach Chad Johnson knows that coming up short of the state tournament last year has pushed Smith this season.
“I think that was his main motivation,” Johnson said. “It really put a fire in him. He felt like he should have gone last year.”
Johnson also knows that just qualifying for state isn’t enough this season.
“Getting there was the first goal, and now we’ve got to try to get a place out of it,” Johnson said. “He’s finally gaining the confidence to get on the podium. Hopefully, we can get into the finals.”
Johnson has seen Smith improve in many aspects on the mat.
“He’s wrestling better now that he has all season,” Johnson said. “He’s scoring more takedowns, and he’s able to get off the bottom better this year. Last year, it was one of his weaknesses.”
In the championship match on Saturday, Smith defeated Winner’s Reed Discoll 7-2. Discoll had defeated Smith in a dual earlier in the season.
“It helps to know that I can hang in there and beat kids that have beaten me before,” Smith said. “(On Saturday), it felt like everything was going for me. It felt like I had an edge.”
Smith will take the mat at the state tournament on Friday in Rapid City. He takes on Cameron Davis, whose record is 18-21, from Mobridge-Pollock in the first round.
The Class B state tournament kicks off at 10 a.m. on Friday in Rapid City.