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Winner Area breaks through for Class B dual championship

Brandon Valley and Winner Area come out victorious in both Class A and B to claim dual championship titles.

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Winner's Charley Pravecek wrestles Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes' Levi Nightingale in a 195-pound match during the Class B state wrestling dual tournament on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022 in Sioux Falls.
Branden Hull / Republic

SIOUX FALLS — At the end of the three-day wrestling event that included individual and dual championships, Winner Area came out victorious claiming the state wrestling dual tournament title.

Winner dominated Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon in round one, 70-9, handled Parkston in round two 57-8 and notched the dual championship title with a 33-25 win over Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes.

“We’ve gotten second the last four years in individuals, we’ve got second in duals to Canton the last two years and with us having five seniors, it’s just an awesome feeling to get this done,” Winner head coach Spencer Novotny said. “To go out there and avenge our only loss of the season against Kimball, led by our seniors in big swing matches, it’s just a great day.”

Canton has gotten the better of Winner the last four years, edging them for team titles in both individual championships and dual championships. Winner had two wrestlers, Maxton Brozik at 113-pounds and Kaden Keiser at 145-pounds pick up state titles in the individual championships on Friday and that was enough motivation to carry over with the team into Saturday.

The Warriors had five seniors on the roster, all picking up wins in the dual championship round against Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes. Multiple seniors overcame adversity as Kaleb Osborn suffered a torn meniscus over a month ago and wrestled for the first time in the Region 3B tournament just one week ago on Feb. 19. Senior Joey Cole was battling a dislocated kneecap that forced him to forfeit in regionals and made it difficult for him to compete during the state tournament.

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“Each one of our guys gave it everything they had and some of them shouldn’t have even been competing this weekend,” Novotny said. “Osborn and Cole gutted it out, Kaden Keiser led us by example, Charley Pravecek showed grit and determination all year and Achilles Willuweit had a lot of pressure on his shoulders but he handled it gracefully. I couldn’t be prouder of this group, we went out the right way.”

One of the Warriors biggest wins of the day in the championship round came in the 170-pound match between Cole and reigning 152-pound weight class champion Grayson Hanson. Trailing 1-0 with just two minutes left in the third round, Cole managed to do what he said he hasn’t been able to do most of the year and pull through late to win his final wrestling match of his career as a Warrior.

“This was my last match of my career and usually I die out right there in that last minute, but I had some extra fuel,” Cole said. “I didn’t want to lose that last one, especially because I didn’t end state how I wanted to.”

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Winner's Joey Cole wrestles Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes' Grayson Hanson in a 170-pound match during the Class B state wrestling dual tournament on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022 in Sioux Falls.
Branden Hull / Republic

As Cole fought through his knee injury, he wasn’t able to place in the individual state tournament. Cole lost the first match to Sioux Valley’s Joe Hornick and lost in the second round of the consolation tournament against Parkston’s Noah Mahoney. Even though Cole finished short of achieving his goal in his senior year, he said it was great to end his career by beating a state champion.

“He won state at 152 this year so he’s giving up quite a bit of weight but it was huge beating him because I just beat a state champion,” Cole said. “I feel for him losing his last match. We both were motivated and wanted to go out with a win, but I just wanted it a little more than he did I think.”

Along with Winner, Brandon Valley claimed the dual championship title in Class A with a 32-25 win over Rapid City Stevens.

Pierre took home third-place in Class A, beating Harrisburg 38-23 in the first round and Watertown 36-28 in the third-place match.

Sturgis Brown won fifth-place in Class A after taking down Harrisburg 37-30.

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In Class B, Canton took home third-place after beating Parkston 50-24. Canton beat Redfield in round one 48-30, but lost in the second round to Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes.

Philip Area secured fifth-place honors after losing in the first round to Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes 44-24, but bounced back with two wins over Redfield, 37-26, and Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon 41-27.

Branden is a sports reporter that graduated from Purdue University Northwest with a bachelor's degree in communications and a focus in journalism. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 and covers prep and collegiate athletics. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Full-Court Press, providing a weekly web-exclusive look at high school basketball throughout all of South Dakota. Branden can be reached at bhull@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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