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Eriksen looking to collect more pins at state

Luke Hagen/Republic Lyman's Skyler Eriksen pins Chamberlain's Stefen Monteau Saturday in a semifinal match at the District 6B meet in Presho.

PRESHO -- Lyman heavyweight wrestler Skyler Eriksen started his quest for a state title on Saturday by winning the District 6B heavyweight championship.

While doing so, he helped the Raiders win the team title by only nine and a half points over Kimball/White Lake.

The No. 2-ranked Class B wrestler pinned both of his opponents in the first period, including Jordan Frost of Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Ethan in the finals, and the final six team points helped Lyman seal the team victory.

The junior moved his record to 33-1 on the season after Saturday's title, and 22 of his 33 wins came from pinning his opponent.

"It's great you don't have to be out there the whole six minutes," Eriksen said. "I like getting it done, especially with those bigger kids. One bad mistake with them outweighing me, and I can end up on my back and in trouble."

For his strong weekend tournament and successful season, Eriksen has been named this week's The Daily Republic's Player of the Week, as voted on by the newspaper's sports staff.

Last season Eriksen, qualified for the state tournament but ran into some tough competition in the second and third rounds. He didn't place last season, but he said this year his goal is to finish in the top four in his weight bracket, something his head coach Chad Johnson said is achievable.

Johnson said Eriksen is a great team leader who has a strong personality.

"He's like having a third coach in the corner when he's not wrestling," Johnson said.

Eriksen's only loss this season came against a Phillip opponent, Mick Trask, in which he lost in four overtimes. The loss has humbled him during his journey for the state title.

"I hate losing," he said. "It would have been great to go undefeated this season, but I think it's good to go into the state tournament with a loss."

Another major award Eriksen hoisted earlier this year was the pinning title at the State Class B dual tournaments in Wagner. He pinned all five of his opponents during the day in less time than it takes to wrestle a full six-minute match.

Unlike most heavyweight wrestlers, Eriksen said his best moves are takedowns, while most big men like to use throws. Johnson said Eriksen's versatility sets him apart from the other 285-pounders in the state and will help him achieve a state-tournament finish.

"He's not afraid to shoot, that's for sure," Johnson said. "He really likes to stay aggressive, and he doesn't do a lot of dancing stuff."

While working for his season-ending goal, Eriksen said he'll need to continue to be aggressive in matches as they become more difficult against the best wrestlers in the state. He added his teammates and coaches have helped him throughout the season get to where he is now.

And although college is still over a year away for him, Eriksen said he'd like to play football or wrestle in college. A state wrestling title could help clean the sour taste in his mouth after Lyman's football team lost to Marion/Hurley in the state semifinals last fall.

Eriksen and 10 other Lyman wrestlers will be at the Region 3B tournament Saturday in Miller with hopes of advancing to the state finals with a top-four finish.