Local youth wrestlers prepare for state meetEighteen local youth wrestlers will hit the mat this weekend in hopes of winning a state wrestling title.
Eighteen local youth wrestlers will hit the mat this weekend in hopes of winning a state wrestling title.
The South Dakota state youth wrestling tournament begins at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Swiftel Center in Brookings. The tournament concludes Sunday with awards and is a double-elimination style, meaning after two losses a wrestler is removed from competition.
Of the 18 qualifiers, two are state champions, four are state placers, six are state qualifiers and six are first-time state qualifiers. The two state champions are Joseph VanOverschelde, who is a returning state champion, and Carson Max, who has five state youth wrestling titles.
Brandon Vilhauer, coach of Mitchell’s youth wrestling program, said the kids are excited to compete with the top wrestlers in the state.
“It’s their conclusion at the end of the season,” Vilhauer said. “The kids get to see how hard they’ve worked and see where they stand.”
Mitchell’s youth wrestling program had 56 wrestlers qualify for the region tournament where 18 were fortunate enough to move on to the state tournament, which used to be held at the Corn Palace from 1974 to 1989.
Mitchell’s program is on the up side as it qualified 15 wrestlers to the state tournament last year and this year, the program had 110 wrestlers.
“I can’t remember when we had numbers over 100 in the program,” Vilhauer said. “With these numbers increasing, these next few years are going to be our big defining years.”
Alongside Max and VanOverschelde, Karter Sibson, Conner Degen, Hayden Wallace, Tyson Degen, Brody Riggs, Colton Dillon, Beau Foote Jr., Cole Gehrke, Briggs Havlik and Kyle Foote are returning qualifiers.
Other Mitchell wrestlers competing this weekend for the first time are Shea Richter, Kale Vilhauer, Sean Foote, Luke Chenoweth, Dylan Soulek and Parker Phillips.