Howard's Loudenburg repeats; Dion, Kocer, Stoebner and Novotny win titlesABERDEEN — As a freshman last year, Luke Loudenburg claimed his first state wrestling championship. He made it clear his intentions were to keep winning titles all the way through high school.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
ABERDEEN — As a freshman last year, Luke Loudenburg claimed his first state wrestling championship. He made it clear his intentions were to keep winning titles all the way through high school.
Saturday at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen, the Howard 120-pounder became a back-to-back champion with an 11-0 major decision win over Burke/Gregory’s Kurt Braun for another title.
Next year, he’ll look to become a three-time state champion.
“What else is there to shoot for in wrestling?” Loudenburg said. “There’s only one champion in wrestling and that’s where everyone wants to be, so you got to keep gunning for it, too.”
Loudenburg finished the year 48-1 and was Howard’s only state champion. In his four state tournament matches over the weekend, he had two pins and picked up a 5-2 decision win over Kingsbury County senior Austin Gilbertson in the quarterfinals, a match he trailed 2-1 early.
It was his toughest match of the tournament, he said.
“I don’t like wrestling down because I tend to do stupid stuff,” Loudenburg said. “Luckily, I kept my composure somewhat. I got through there, and during my semifinals match I really got my composure back and started wrestling my matches again.”
Loudenburg got first-round and semifinal pins to advance to his third straight finals match. As an eighth-grader, he lost in the 106-pound championship.
Loudenburg said this year’s weight class was tougher than a year ago, but he said last year’s title still means more to him.
“Last year was better because it was my first one,” Loudenburg said. “This year, you don’t really like to say it, but it’s kind of a ‘been-there, done-that type of deal.’ ”
Wagner’s Kocer, Dion each get first title
Two Wagner High School wrestlers each claimed their first state wrestling championships Saturday at the Class B state tournament, leading the team to a third-place finish.
David Kocer, whose two older brothers are multiple-time state champions, claimed the 160-pound title after beating Chandlier Sudbeck 3-0 in the championship match. The match was scoreless headed into the third period, when Kocer started in the down position and scored right away when Sudbeck opted for a neutral start.
Kocer, who lost in the semifinals last year and finished third at state, added a match-sealing takedown with 40 seconds to go, giving the Kocer family another state title.
Ryan Kocer won three state titles for Wagner and Alex Kocer is a five-time state champion.
“I was pretty nervous coming into this tournament,” said David Kocer, a junior. “Coming into this, knowing my brothers have so many (titles), I feel relieved now, I guess.”
Wagner’s Tyler Dion wrestled one of the most exciting matches in the championship round, coming out on top for the 138-pound title.
Dion recorded several takedowns early and looked to be in control of Flandreau’s Tate Lacey headed into the final minute of the match. But with 45 seconds left, Dion got out of position and was nearly pinned, twice. He came out with a 16-10 win.
“He’s a funky wrestler,” Dion said. “I just tried to keep my composure and I knew how to get out of that. I tried to keep calm.”
Dion lost to Redfield/Doland’s Ben Gillette 3-0 in last year’s 126-pound finals for a runner-up finish.
He said losing last year gave him the experience he needed to come away with a finals victory.
Wagner’s Trevor Lensing also was a finals qualifier, but he lost to Winner’s Tate Novotny 13-5.
“Very proud of their effort and to get those three in the finals worked out really well for us,” Wagner coach Chas Welch said. “The boys really wrestled well as a team.”
The Red Raiders finished with 111.5 points, behind champion Parkston’s 164 and second-place Philip’s 115.
Novotny gets title for Winner High School
The difference between winning and losing a state championship match is too great to explain, Tate Novotny said.
Winner’s 170-pound senior fought off his back in the first period of his state title match against Wagner’s Trevor Lensing and went on to win 13-5 for his first state wrestling championship.
Last year, Novotny lost in the 170-pound finals to McCook Central/Montrose’s Dominic Blindert.
“Last year I got nervous before the finals and this year I had one goal,” Novotny said. “Me and my coaches had the same goal for me to be the state champ.”
Novotny pinned his first-round opponent in 16 seconds en route to the title and a 42-4 record. He had a 5-1 quarterfinal win and a 1-0 semifinal win before wrestling Lensing.
He led 5-0 early in the first period on a takedown and a cradle. Then his Wagner opponent got a five-point roll to even the match.
“That was crazy,” he said. “I got real excited and then he put me to my back. I knew I couldn’t have any more mistakes.”
Novotny led 8-5 at the end of the first period and stayed calm for the rest of his match.
“I wasn’t going to go out as a senior like that,” Novotny said. “Winning a state title is everything I thought it would be and more. It’s something.”
Duncan Stoebner goes undefeated, wins 106
After a scoreless first period, Bon Homme sophomore Duncan Stoebner scored three second-period points to cap an undefeated season and win the 106-pound Saturday at the Class B state wrestling tournament.
Stoebner went 41-0 on the season and defeated Kingsburg County’s Brody Harkless 3-2 for the championship.
“I wrestled a little more conservative because it was the state finals,” said Stoebner, who was called for stalling in the third period to give Harkless one point. “I didn’t want to get caught doing anything.”
Stoebner won three of his state tournament matches by decision and had a 14-1 major decision in the first round.
After winning the title, he ran over to his dad, the team’s coach Mark Stoebner, to celebrate.
“It was pretty exciting,” Mark Stoebner said. “It was pretty special moment for me having everyone here.”
Bon Homme, which had three wrestlers in the finals but got only one champion, finished the state tournament with 83.5 points, good enough for sixth place.
Alex Caba (113) and Lincoln Stoebner (126) each finished as runner-up. Lincoln Stoebner is Mark’s middle child, and Dylan Stoebner, the oldest child, was matside as an assistant coach.
“Getting three in the finals when we came here with six was good,” Mark Stoebner said. “We needed some big points out of those guys.”