Class B preview: Steep climb in weights hasn't been daunting for Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon's Crownover
Isaac Crownover has top seed in chase for his first state championship
TYNDALL, S.D. — Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon’s Isaac Crownover is no stranger to moving up weight classes in high school wrestling.
Two seasons ago, Crownover wrestled at the Class B state wrestling tournament at 126 pounds. He took third place as a freshman.
In 2021, he wrestled at 152 pounds, moving up four weight classes as a sophomore. He was fifth at the state tournament.
Now this year, he’s the No. 1 seed in the bracket at 182 pounds, a far cry from where he was just two seasons ago. But Crownover is comfortable at the weight class and feels like it’s the perfect spot for him to potentially win his first state championship.
“I really like wrestling at this weight,” he said. “A few years ago, there were a few things you couldn’t do at 126 pounds. Wrestling is a lot different when you’re up here.”
Among those differences, includes lighter wrestlers being a lot more flexible to make and defend against moves, and in the upper weight classes, a smart wrestler can use his opponent’s weight against him, Crownover said.
The climb in weight classes started to become a necessity as he grew older and added muscle in preparation for football, where Crownover is a running back and linebacker.
“I really like football and right after wrestling season last year, it was lifting all the time, through the spring and into the summer,” Crownover said. “I came in at about 195 pounds and cut down a little bit to be ready for this wrestling season.”
Crownover is 42-2 this season. His only losses this season were to Watertown’s Mac Young on Feb. 5 by 13-9 decision and Redfield’s Corbin Schwartz. Schwartz won a meeting on Dec. 31 at the McCook Central/Montrose Invitational by 6-4 decision and Crownover answered with a victory of his own at the Wagner tournament on Jan. 29, a 10-4 decision. Schwartz is the bracket’s No. 2 seed, meaning a potential meeting in a title match could be a marquee matchup.
“Coming from last year, I gained 30 pounds and I really didn’t know what to expect this season,” he said. “I was ranked third and I knew I could move up and once I got my hands on the No. 1 guy, I knew I could have some success this season.”
Crownover said he’s also learned from his past trips to state. He was the No. 2 seed at 152 pounds last year and was defeated in the quarterfinals, and expects to be much more composed this time around. Prior to the 2021 tournament, Crownover said his great-grandmother died after a battle with COVID-19, which he said was on his mind.
“I’ll be wrestling for her and my grandpa was here (at regions), and I’ll be ready,” Crownover said.
Christensen chases dominance in Class B heavyweight bracket
WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D. — Quinten Christensen is expecting to dominate on the wrestling mat.
After winning the Region 3B championship last week with a 7-0 decision in the semifinals and a 5-1 decision in the championship, the Wessington Springs/Woonsocket/Wolsey-Wessington senior wrestler was happy to have won but not satisfied with how he wrestled. Being a reigning state champion, he said dominating his matches is what he expects to do.
“Winning it last year, my goal this year is to kind of dominate,” Christensen said. “I don’t think I’ve done that to my potential yet this year, so that’s my goal because there’s always room to improve.”
Needless to say, Christensen plans to be motivated at the Class B state wrestling tournament this weekend. He is the top seed in the Class B bracket at 285 pounds with a record of 39-0, with 21 pins to his name this season.
Christensen, who intends to play college football at South Dakota State in the fall, has lost only once since the start of the 2020-21 season, and that was to an Iowa wrestler at the Parkston Little B tournament. He won his next 15 matches to claim the 285-pound title and has run the winning streak to 54 matches with a 39-0 season in 2021-22.
Christensen has faced No. 2-seeded Grady Fey, of Redfield, four times this season and won all four meetings, with a pin and three decisions, including two that went to overtime.
“I’m just trying to wrestle smart,” he said. “You always have to go back to the (practice) room and work on stuff. Matches are going to get closer as the season goes on and I’m just trying to be ready for every possible scenario I might see.”