RAPID CITY-Winner Area isn't scoring as many bonus points as coach Spencer Novotny would like, but it still finds itself in second place at the Class B state wrestling tournament after Friday's second session.
Despite a couple of Warriors losing early, they have 53.5 team points, while Wagner (43) and Burke/Gregory (41) are in sixth and seventh, respectively. McCook Central/Montrose (32.5) and Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes (31) round out the top 10 in ninth and 10th, respectively. Canton leads with 97 points.
"So far, we're not scoring as many points as we're used to," Novotny said. "We're not scoring bonus points-we're winning by seven. We got guys on their back and not getting pins."
In front of a full and loud crowd at the Rushmore Civic Center, Winner bounced back from a slow start. Novotny was happy to see his wrestlers "still coming back through the backside," while keeping their composure.
Winner still has plenty of chances to claim an individual championship, though. It advanced four wrestlers to the semifinals, including three top-seeded wrestlers-Kaden Keiser (120 pounds), Wyatt Turnquist (138), and Sam Kruger (160). Third-seeded Trevor Peters is still alive at 160 pounds, too.
That said, Novotny isn't too caught up in the seeding, especially once his team hits the mat today. The semifinals begin at 10 a.m., followed by the placement matches at 4 p.m. and championship matches at 6:30 p.m.
"When we get into the semis (Saturday), the top-four seeds are pretty even," Novotny said. "We're going to have to keep bringing our A-game and hopefully it'll be good enough to get us into the finals."
Novotny also knows catching Canton is a tall task. He's more focused on just winning matches the rest of the tournament.
"At this point, we just go to win our matches," Novotny said. "Take care of ourselves (because) the team score will take care of itself. I'm not too worried. I'm not going to preach about bonus points. I'm going to talk about winning your match."
Wagner qualified Lance Soukup (120), Bradyn Lhotak (126), KJ St. Pierre (220) and Dawson Lensing (285) to the semifinals, while Burke/Gregory sends Owen Hansen (106), Jackson Eklund (145) and Jeremiah Beck (182).
Top-seeded wrestlers Riley Weber (106), of Parkston, and Jesse Hastings (220), of Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Corsica-Stickney, are also still in the winner's bracket. Weber is joined by teammates Lucas Bietz (160) and Tanner Even (170). MVPCS will also be represented by Thomas Baker at 182 pounds.
Wessington Springs/Woonsocket/Wolsey-Wessington, KWLPG and Howard all qualified two. MCM and Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon both have one alive on the championship side.