25 facts to know ahead of the South Dakota state wrestling championships in Rapid City
Everything you need to be in the know ahead of the three-day state wrestling extravaganza.
RAPID CITY — With nearly 600 wrestlers on the mat and more than 80 teams involved, the South Dakota High School Activities Association's state wrestling championship is a big deal.
And despite a crippling snowstorm that is set to hit the state, the plan is to proceed with the three-day championship at The Monument in Rapid City, starting at 10 a.m. Central time on Thursday.
The individual championships will take place Thursday and Friday, with the championship round scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Central. The dual tournament will be held all day Saturday, starting at noon Central, with the championship round at 5 p.m.
Here's a look at what to know about this week's competitions:
Cavaliers are one of three Class B teams to bring an undefeated record to the state duals
- Six Mitchell area wrestlers are seeded No. 1. They include Wagner’s Karstyn Lhotak (120), Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes’ Kasen Konstanz (126), Burke/Gregory’s Owen Hansen (132), KWLPG’s Carter Lenz (145), McCook Central/Montrose’s Jackson Remmers (152) and Winner Area’s Riley Orel (160) and Jack Kruger (182).
- Five more area wrestlers are seeded No. 2 in their brackets: Howard’s Conner Giedd (120), KWLPG’s Iden Myers (132), Wagner’s Jhett Breen (138), Parkston’s Porter Neugebauer (152), Burke/Gregory’s Gunnar Stephens (170), Bon Homme/Avon’s Isaac Crownover (182) and MCM’s Austin Hoiten (285). Crownover was the state champion at 182 last season, defeating Winner Area’s Kruger. But Kruger has won all three meetings this season.
- Four wrestlers in Class B remain undefeated entering the state tournament. They include: Redfield’s Brady Risetter (32-0) at 106 pounds, Burke/Gregory's Owen Hansen (39-0) at 132 pounds, McCook Central/Montrose’s Jackson Remmers at 152 pounds (47-0), and Canton’s Tanner Meyers (40-0) at 195 pounds.
- The No. 2 seed in the Class B 106-pound bracket, Canton’s Zach Bartels, leads the state in pins with 41 entering the state tournament.
- MCM’s Jackson Remmers is the state’s leader in technical falls with 25 to his name. Giedd, of Howard, is second with 19 tech falls.
- The 120-pound weight class is one to watch in Class B, heavy on area connections. Lhotak and Giedd are seeded No. 1 and No. 2, followed by Lemmon/McIntosh’s Gage Anderson at No. 3. Maxton Brozik, of Winner, who won the 113-pound title in 2022, is seeded fourth, despite only two losses this season. Brozik and Lhotak split their season series at one win apiece but Lhotak won 6-0 last week at the region meet in Miller. MCM’s Trystan Traupel is seeded fifth and KWLPG’s Gavin Braun, who was the champion at 106 pounds in 2022, is the No. 6 seed. The top six seeds are a combined 216-25 this season, a winning percentage of 89.6%.
- Burke/Gregory’s Owen Hansen is seeking a third-straight state championship after winning titles at 126 in 2021 and 132 in 2022. If he does it, Hansen would be the fourth wrestler from either town to win three titles, joining Burke’s Wayne Willuweit (1971-73), Gregory’s George Grubbs (1972-73, 75) and Nate Hansen (2001-03).
- Two others are going for third-straight championships in Class B. Philip Area’s Burk Blasius is going for his third-straight state championship in Class B after winning at 160 and 170 in the last two seasons. With a third title, he would join South Dakota legend Lincoln McIlravy as the only Philip Area wrestlers to win at least three championships (McIlravy won five.). Also looking for membership in the three-timers club is Canton’s Ayson Rice, having won at 120 pounds in 2021 and 126 last year, but he’s the No. 2 seed in the 145-pound bracket to Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes’ Carter Lenz, who won the only meeting between the two wrestlers on Feb. 3.
- A state team points title for Canton — the overwhelming favorites for the Class B title — would be the C-Hawks’ eighth, snapping a tie all-time for Class B state championships with Webster. Another state title for Canton would be its sixth in a row and seventh in the last eight seasons. Five in a row is already the longest such championship streak in South Dakota wrestling history for either class.
- Noah Hutmacher enters the Class A 220-pound bracket as the No. 1 seed with a 34-1 record and 31 pins to his name, which is fifth-most among South Dakota wrestlers this season. Of those, 16 pins came in less than a minute and three were in 11 seconds or less, with a season-best 8-second pin on Jan. 7 at the Dan Pansch Invitational in Brandon.
- Mitchell's Jagger Tyler is the top seed at 152 pounds, sporting a record of 38-3. If he wins a second straight state title, he would be the first Kernel to do so since Jason Greenway and Brent Havlik each won back-to-back in 2011 and 2012. (Havlik won three in a row from 2010 to 2012.)
- In the team scoring watch, Brandon Valley scored 252 points in 2022, a Class A tournament record, something the Lynx could threaten again. Canton has the Class B record of 240.5 points from the 2020 tournament.
- The Lynx have the Oehme brothers — Brendon, Trevon, Jordan and Trason — each of them seeded No. 1 in their brackets at 106, 113, 132 and 145 pounds, respectively. Together, they have a combined record of 138-9.
- Aberdeen Central, Pierre and Sturgis are the only three schools with a qualifier in every boys weight class, 14 in all.
- In Class A, five wrestlers are undefeated. That includes Watertown’s Sloan Johannsen (44-0) at 120 pounds, Brandon Valley’s Alex Metzer (36-0) at 138 pounds, Milbank’s Barrett Schneck (29-0) at 170 pounds, Sturgis’ Reese Jacobs (45-0) at 182 pounds and Brandon Valley's Navarro Schunke, who is 24-0 at 285 pounds.
- Schunke is shooting for his fourth state championship for Brandon Valley as a junior. He won titles at 285 twice and 220 in 2021 over the last three seasons.
- Jacobs is attempting for his third title after winning the last two at 170 pounds and Johannsen, of Watertown, won the last two seasons at 106 and 113 pounds.
- The Class A dual tournament has had three different champions in its first three years, with Rapid City Stevens, Pierre and Brandon Valley. The Lynx won 33-25 last year over Stevens in the Class A final.
- This is the first state wrestling tournament to be held at The Monument’s new Summit Arena, which opened in 2021. It seats more than 10,000, and it is the fourth time since 2016 that Rapid City has hosted the combined tournament when the SDHSAA returned to the single-facility format.
- In the girls brackets, three area wrestlers stand as No. 1 seeds in their brackets, each of them previous state champions. Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes’ Akane Metcalfe at 106 pounds with a record of 18-1, along with Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon teammates Britney Reub (120) at 36-2 and Peyton Hellman (126) with a record of 37-1.
- Three wrestlers remain undefeated. Spearfish’s Taylor Graveman is 41-0 and the No. 1 seed at 126, Lead-Deadwood’s Trinity Zopp at 18-0 at 154 pounds, and Pierre’s Ciara McFarling standing at 19-0 at 285 pounds.
- Graveman, Hellman, McFarling and Rueb, along with Canton’s Carlee Laubach (21-1 wrestling at 170 pounds) all have chances to become the inaugural three-time state champions in South Dakota history.
- Pierre has a full slate of girls entries — all 10 slots are filled for the Governors. Canton has nine and Viborg-Hurley/Irene-Wakonda has seven girls in the field.
- The first girls state team title was awarded in 2022, with Pierre winning with 146 points, followed by Canton at 129 and Spearfish in third with 83 points.
- Mitchell has two wrestlers in the field, with Danny Borja with a No. 6 seed in the 120-pound weight class, while Frankie Kranz is the No. 8-seeded wrestler at 106 pounds. Kranz, an eighth-grader, is 33-12, while Borja has a record of 34-7.