Athlete of the week: Novotny proud to claim first state title in family historyWINNER — It’s been three days since Winner’s Tate Novotny defeated Wagner’s Trevor Lensing by major decision to claim the Class B 170-pound state championship.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
WINNER — It’s been three days since Winner’s Tate Novotny defeated Wagner’s Trevor Lensing by major decision to claim the Class B 170-pound state championship.
But the fact that he’s a state champion wrestler still has not sunk in.
The victory was the second time this school year Novotny has won a state championship; the other time was in November when Winner won the Class 11B football title.
“We won the state championship but winning an individual title is completely different to me,” Novotny said.
“In football, everyone has to work together, but with the individual title, it was how hard I wanted to push myself and how hard my practice partners pushed me.”
Last weekend, Novotny won all three of his matches to improve his season record to 42-4 and earn the first state wrestling title of his career.
Not only was the title the first for Novotny, it was also the first time anyone in his family, who has wrestled for Winner High School, has won a state title.
Novotny’s father, Randy, was a two-time state placer in 1982 and 1983 at 185 pounds; his uncle, Glen, finished third at 185 in 1981; and his uncle, Dean, qualified for the state tournament in 1982 at 167.
“As much hard work as the Novotnys have put into wrestling for Winner, it felt great to finally get it a state championship win,” Novotny said.
“I always wanted to be the first one to win the state tournament. … I had a lot of cousins there and after I won it was kind of a pride thing to be able to go up and tell them that I was the one who won state.”
For his efforts, Novotny has been named The Daily Republic athlete of the week, an award voted on by the newspaper’s sports staff.
Last year, Novotny came close to winning the state title but was defeated by McCook Central/Montrose’s Dominic Blindert in the 170-pound championship match and finished as the state runner-up.
Novotny said that loss fueled his work ethic in the offseason and his dedication to getting better throughout the season.
Before defeating Lensing in the finals Saturday, Novotny pinned Britton-Hecla’s Mason Kilker in the first round and won by decision over Flandreau’s Kyle Scofield and Custer’s Clayton Wahlstrom in the quarter and semifinals, respectively.
“He really went into the tournament with one goal on his mind and that was getting back to the finals and finishing what he didn’t do last year,” Winner coach Matt Chambers said. “He has worked hard, he loves the sport of wrestling and follows it. He watches all of the different weight classes and college wrestling and he deserves this.”
Novotny is also the first member of the Winner wrestling squad to win a state championship since Chambers took over the program three years ago.