Mitchell to host inaugural ESD girls wrestling championships on Tuesday

The inaugural Eastern South Dakota Conference girls wrestling tournament will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at Mitchell High School.

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From left, placewinners Liliana Van der Wyst, (Rapid City Stevens), Emma Trode (Mitchell), Dani Batchelor (Clark/Willow Lake) and Cassandra Witte (Rapid City Stevens) receive their awards at the inaugural Jerry Opbroek Invitational girls wrestling tournament on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023 at Mitchell High School.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — The inaugural Eastern South Dakota Conference girls wrestling tournament will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at Mitchell High School.

All nine ESD schools are scheduled to participate, with as many as 60 wrestlers expected in the event. The meet is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. on two mats at the MHS Gym.

The tournament will decide the inaugural ESD team champion and will award all-conference honors, according to MHS Activities Director Cory Aadland. Boys wrestling in the ESD decides the team champions based on dual meet records and has coaches vote on all-conference honors.

A majority of the weight classes will wrestle eight-person brackets, while a few will wrestle round-robin to decide the winner. Points will be awarded throughout the tournament to determine the team champion.

“With the way the sport has grown, as a conference, we wanted to find the best way to create exposure for those athletes and we decided that a single tournament was the best approach,” Aadland said.


The ESD tournament was scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16, in Brandon but was moved up in order to meet the state’s seeding deadline, Aadland said. The move to Mitchell was necessitated because Brandon Valley had home basketball games scheduled on Tuesday and could no longer host the event.

Because there are no regional qualifying tournaments for girls wrestling, South Dakota High School Activities Association officials seed the 16-wrestler brackets at the end of this week based on regular-season performance and head-to-head meetings logged into the wrestling management website TrackWrestling.

This will be the third season with girls wrestling state championships sanctioned by the SDHSAA, with the state championship round on Feb. 24 in Rapid City.

“The wrestling community is known for doing whatever needs to be done to make an event happen, so I have no doubts that this will work pretty smoothly,” Aadland said of hosting the ESD meet on short notice. “It’s a great chance to showcase girls wrestling.”

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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