Less than 3 minutes for title No. 3: Peyton Hellmann pins through girls bracket for BHSA

Hellmann, of Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon, earned the state title at 126 pounds, with three pins and a forfeit, continuing her dominance in the state tournament

Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon's Peyton Hellmann (blue headgear) wrestles Sully Buttes' Cateri Yellow Hawk during the girls 126-pound championship match on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023 at the Summit Arena in Rapid City.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

RAPID CITY — Peyton Hellmann earned state title No. 3 this week at the South Dakota state wrestling tournament.

Total time on the mat? All of 2 minutes and 49 seconds.

Hellmann, of Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon, earned the state title at 126 pounds, with three pins and a forfeit, continuing her dominance in the state tournament, where she’s never lost a match.

It was the championship that was her longest match of the week, pinning Cateri Yellow Hawk, of Sully Buttes, in 1 minute and 39 seconds, securing a 41-1 season for Hellmann. The BHSA sophomore won in 34 and 36 seconds, respectively, in the first two rounds and she benefitted from a forfeit from Canton’s Kieonna Smith in the semifinals. She ended the season with 26 pins in a row, with her last win by decision coming in December.

“I expected it to go well but that was definitely some of my best wrestling of the year,” Hellmann said after the match. “I just came ready and was ready to fight.”


Hellmann said she went to a backup move to earn the pin, and continued to focus on the task at hand throughout her matches. She said a simple approach has worked well for her to this point in her career.

“I just stayed very focused. I didn’t try anything new and just stuck to my technique,” she said.

Hellmann is one of four wrestlers that won Friday that are now 3-for-3 in pursuit of state titles since the sport was sanctioned for the first time in 2021. She’s joined by Spearfish’s Taylor Graveman, Pierre’s Ciara McFarling and Canton’s Carlee Laubach as wrestlers to win three championships in the first three seasons. Laubach and Graveman are seniors, while McFarling is a sophomore like Hellmann.

“It’s incredible,” Hellmann said. “It’s exciting to see so many girls out here and they’re ready to compete. To see the three-timers and the seniors that are getting to cap their careers like that, it’s very cool. For only being sanctioned for three years, it’s amazing.”

BHSA nearly had double titles for the third consecutive season as Britney Rueb qualified for the state title match at 120 pounds. But Rueb was defeated by Harrisburg’s Regina Stoeser, who won by 2-0 decision. Stoeser finished at 36-2 on the year and Rueb at 39-3.

Hellmann’s only loss of the season was to her teammate Rueb in December in a season-opening tournament in Dell Rapids where their weight classes were combined.

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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