Four storylines to watch at Mitchell's Opbroek Invitational wrestling tournament

Mitchell’s annual high school wrestling invitational will churn into gear Saturday at Mitchell High School at the Jerry Opbroek Invitational.

Mitchell's Jagger Tyler has his hand raised in victory following a match against Aberdeen Central during a dual on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021 in the Mitchell High School gymnasium.
Matt Gade / Mitchell Republic

Mitchell’s annual high school wrestling invitational will churn into gear Saturday at Mitchell High School at the Jerry Opbroek Invitational.

Nine teams will be on hand for the tournament, which begins at 10 a.m. at the MHS Gym. Here are some key storylines to keep an eye out for at this Saturday’s tournament:

Raiders lead pack of Class A challengers

Rapid City Stevens has come out on top of the Opbroek Invitational the last three times it has been held, winning in 2018, 2019 and 2021 (2020 was canceled due to weather). In the 2021 edition, the Raiders had 222 points, followed by Pierre at 191 and Mitchell at 186. The last five Mitchell tournaments have been won by either Rapid City Stevens or Pierre.

It’s not a dual tournament, but the top-three teams in Class A in seed points will all be on hand, with No. 1 Pierre, No. 2 Watertown and No. 3 Stevens. Those teams were 2-3-4 in the Class A team standings at the end of the state tournament a year ago, with Stevens in second place (166.5), Pierre third (144) and Watertown fourth (137) behind state champions Brandon Valley (188).

Rapid City Stevens won the only meeting of those three teams so far this season at the Rapid City Invitational in mid-December, with the Raiders scoring 215 points, Watertown checking in at 192.5 and Pierre in fourth with 177.5 points behind third-place Harrisburg at 185 points. The Raiders also won the well-regarded Mandan (N.D.) tournament early in the year when they scored 368.5 points.


The Governors are coming off their first team tournament title of the season last weekend at the Mid-Dakota Monster in Presho, where Pierre scored 219 points to edge the state’s top Class B teams.

Logan Graf Rapid City Stevens wrestling.jpg
Logan Graf, of Rapid City Stevens, celebrates winning the 120-pound title during the 2021 South Dakota Class A state wrestling tournament on Feb. 27, 2021 in Rapid City.
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Graf at the front of No. 1 wrestler contingent

Rapid City Stevens’ Logan Graf is among the state’s leaders in takedowns with 61, allowing just three takedowns on defense. Graf, a two-time state champion and the No. 1-ranked wrestler at 126 pounds, has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at South Dakota State starting next year. Graf was 37-0 last season and has already racked up a record of 29-1 this season, with his only loss coming in Fargo, N.D. on Dec. 30 against Big Lake’s (Minn.) Christian Noble, who is also a senior and committed to wrestle at SDSU.

At 113 pounds, Watertown’s Sloan Johannsen is the No. 1 wrestler in Class A, with a record of 23-0, which ranks as third-most in the state for an undefeated wrestler. Johannsen, a sophomore, recently picked up impressive wins at the Floyd Farrand Invitational in Sioux Falls on Dec. 30 and the two-day Bismarck Rotary Tournament.

Other Class A No. 1 wrestlers coming to Mitchell include 106-pounder Alex Oedekoven, of Pierre, and Riley Benson, of Rapid City Stevens, at 160 pounds. Benson’s weight class will include No. 3 Barrett Schneck of Milbank, while No. 2-ranked Corbin Zent, of Stevens, is the chief challenger to Oedekoven.

The Kernels’ wrestler at 145 pounds, Jagger Tyler, is No. 1 in Class A, and recently picked up an 8-3 decision over Harrisburg’s Logan O’Connor, who is ranked No. 4 in Class A. Nine of Tyler’s 14 wins have been via pin. The Kernels’ Beau Foote is unbeaten at 285 pounds with a record of 12-0.

Parkston's Porter Neugebauer escapes a hold from Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes' Kasen Konstanz during a 106-pound match at the Region 3B tournament on Feb. 22, 2020 in Winner.
Republic file photo

Class B stalwarts back in action

Two of Class B’s perennially strong programs will return to the Opbroek Invitational Saturday in Howard and Parkston.


The Howard Tigers have a small but mighty roster with fewer than 15 wrestlers on the roster. John Callies has marched to a 24-2 start to his senior season at 160 pounds. He ranks third in the state in wins by fall with 20 in a total time of 29 minutes. Only Brandon Valley’s Navarro Schunke (26) and Parker’s Dylan Buseman (22) have scored more pins this season. Callies is the No. 5-ranked wrestler at 160 pounds in Class B.

Tate Miller is ranked No. 5 at 120 pounds with a record of 15-3 for Howard, while Conner Giedd has had a solid start to his varsity wrestling career at 106 pounds. The seventh-grader is 13-1 and ranked No. 6 in Class B.

For Parkston, Kaden Holzbauer is ranked No. 3 at 113 pounds in Class B with a record of 16-3. Porter Neugebauer has the No. 4 ranking at a loaded 152-pound class in Class B, carrying a record of 13-3. The Trojans were the last Class B school to win a team title at the Opbroek Invitational in 2015.

Top reversal artists to be in action

If you’re a fan of reversals, the Opbroek Invitational will have some of the state’s most accomplished reversal artists on the mat.

Rapid City Stevens’ Joe Juenger and Brayden Collins, along with Pierre’s Jayden Wiebe each lead the state in reversals with 17. Pierre’s Jaxon Ducheneaux has pulled off 15 reversals and Graf has 14 reversals without allowing one to his name this season.

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at
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