RAPID CITY-Winner Area High School experienced a snowball effect on Saturday at the Rushmore Civic Center, which highlighted its dominance and potential.
The Warriors finished with four grapplers standing on top of the podium, helping it take second in Class B (140.5 points) behind only record-setting Canton (200). The championship-filled evening started in the first match of the night as Trevor Peters (44-5) won the 152-pound title. And that only motivated his teammates.
Sam Kruger (42-3) won at 160 pounds in the next match, followed by Kaden Keiser (120, 46-1) and Wyatt Turnquist (138, 46-2).
"(Peters and Kruger) really started it strong and really well for us," Keiser said. "They really got us going, really got us hyped up."
Winner's 4-0 night has added significance when considering it went 0-4 in 2018 championship matches. Kruger, Keiser and Turnquist made up three of the losses, while Peters fell in the semifinals to eventual state champion Josh Weisbrod, of Clark/Willow Lake.
The turnaround started in practice.
"When you have good people practicing with each other, it kind of helps build on the attitude and mentality," Peters said. "Pushing each other in practice, getting better and better everyday helps."
However, to catch Canton, Winner coach Spencer Novotny knows it needs to continue building depth to get, "some of our other guys on the podium if we want to compete with a team like Canton." The Warriors placed seven wrestlers.
Novotny gets the luxury of returning Keiser (FR), Kruger (SO) and Peters (JR) next season, though Turnquist will be wrestling at Northern State University. Despite being a senior, Turnquist is confident in the program he wrapped up his career with as a state champion.
"It's heading in the right direction," he said. "We're going to be good for a long time in Winner."
State final recap: Crownover bests Scheidt for second year in a row
After Bon Homme/Avon/Scotland's Josh Crownover and Canton's Shaeden Scheidt dueled into overtime of last year's Class B 160-pound championship matched, it would be hard to think they could top the performance.
The two reconvended during Saturday's 170-pound final and once again they were separated by one point. The winner of the match was Crownover (41-5) once again, as he held off the previously undefeated Scheidt (52-1) to take the match by decision, 6-5.
The match was their third meeting this season and all three were decided by two points or less, including two overtime bouts. Mutual admiration has developed between them and since both are juniors, a third state final is possible next season.
"He and I looked at each other and we both respect each other in a big way," Crownover said. "We've been wrestling each other forever, so there's a little bit of respect there."
Two more familiar opponents met in the Class B 220 finals, as No. 1 Jesse Hastings (Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Corsica-Stickney) and No. 2 K.J. St. Pierre (Wagner) battled for the fourth time this season. St. Pierre (35-5) was able to block a Hastings (32-3) pin attempt in the second period and reversed to a nearfall of his own, leading to a 6-1 decision, as the latter finished as the runner-up for the second straight season.
Parkston junior Riley Weber (32-2) upheld his No. 1 seed in the Class B 106-pound division, as he controlled the majority of his match against third-seeded Riley Whitley (35-4), of Redfield, after a nearfall gave him a 6-0 lead heading into the final period and he held on to win a 7-3 decision.
Two Howard wrestlers advanced to the finals and both matches went into sudden victory overtime. While E.J. Leetch was not able to come out victorious in the 195 finals, sophomore Lane Miller found a way to win at 113.
Miller (43-7) and Faulkton Area's Gage Martinmaas (39-5) failed to score a point in regulation, but Miller only needed 24 seconds to earn a takedown and a pin to win the match.
Wagner placed fourth in Class B with 86 points, while Howard scored 78 points to nip Burke/Gregory for sixth, as the two points scored with Miller's pin broke a tie. Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes was ninth with 72 points and Parkston rounded out the top 10 with 65.5.