RAPID CITY-Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes' Wyatt Talbott has wrestled deep into both of his matches at the Class B state wrestling tournament. However, he's unscathed heading into the 132-pound semifinal, taking down Lyman's Tyrone Oldenkamp and Sisseton's Keanan Pikarski.
"I'm glad all my hard work is paying off finally toward the end of the season," Talbott said. "... I wrestled them before in the season, so I knew I needed to work hard in practice to pull off the win today."
With KWLPG's team score on his mind, the fifth-seeded Talbott wanted a pin in his first-round match. He did just that, pinning Oldenkamp at the 5:45 mark.
In his quarterfinal match, he and Pikarski wrestled to a 0-0 tie heading into the third period. Talbott broke the scoreless tie by scoring a point with 35 seconds remaining in the third and leaning Pikarski at the buzzer to add three more to his win.
"I knew if I stayed on him, he would eventually break," Talbott said. "I just stayed on him."
KWLPG is eighth in the team standings. To help his team and make the championship match, Talbott will need to pull an upset over top-seeded Kellyn March, of Canton, who is 53-0 and has two pins in a total of 54 seconds at the state tournament.
"It's definitely going to be a tough one," Talbott said, of March. "I'm just here to have fun."
Class B semis filled with Haiders
The state tournament is turning into a family affair for Haider family of Wessington Springs/Woonsocket/Wolsey-Wessington.
Brothers Keegan and Tate Haider each won their first two matches to advance to the Class B semifinals at 113 and 138 pounds, respectively. The brothers also happened to do so with their father and WSWWW head coach, Kevin Haider, literally in their corner.
"I push them to be the best they can be and that hard work is showing," Kevin Haider said. "Hopefully tomorrow, they can push and get into the finals."
Eighth-grader Keegan Haider picked up a technical fall win in the first round and then defeated Parkston's Landon Sudbeck by decision, 9-3, in a rematch of the Region 3B finals.
Tate Haider-a senior-won his first match by fall and then picked up a 7-4 decision over Brennan Hanes of Custer/Edgemont.
Keegan faces Howard's No. 2 Lane Miller in the 113 semifinals today, while Tate squares off with Philip Area's No. 2 McCoy Peterson. Both Haiders-seeded third in their brackets-have lost their opponents earlier this season in close matches, so getting out to a fast start is crucial.
"They have to come attacking," Kevin Haider said. "In the past they've been taken down right away against these kids, so we have to get the first take down."
Kruger, Gessner set for semifinal duel
Winner's Sam Kruger and McCook Central/Montrose's Blake Gessner represent two of the three area wrestlers in the Class B 160-pound semifinal today, with Parkston's Lucas Bietz being the other.
Although, Kruger and Gessner are familiar foes, with them splitting a pair of matches against one another.
"He's really explosive and strong," Kruger said, of Gessner. "He's going to be a pretty tough kid to beat."
Both wrestlers had a pin in the first round on Friday, though Gessner won a 9-0 major decision and Kruger earned a 6-0 decision. That said, Kruger enters the match as the top-ranked wrestler at 160 pounds, while Gessner comes in at No. 4.
However, the seeding isn't on Kruger's mind.
"(Seeding) really doesn't matter," he said. "Everybody is just as good. You just have to go out and wrestle the hardest."
To get him into the finals, Kruger's gameplan against Gessner is simple.
"Don't let him score," Kruger said. "Score as many as I can and don't let up."