RAPID CITY — Alexis Hauge is no stranger to championship matches.
The Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Corsica-Stickney eighth-grader will step onto the mat Saturday in search of her eighth state championship. The previous seven come in AAU tournaments, but she has long dreamt about competing in the South Dakota High School Activities Association state tournament.
With the inaugural girls tournament this season, Hauge finally has her chance. She breezed through her first two matches Friday at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center and now she will get to take the center mat as a Class B 112-pound finalist.
“It’s an honor just to wrestle here,” Hauge said. “I dreamt about competing here, but I never thought there’d be a girls division. … There’s a lot of people at AAU, but more people wrestling and not as many people watching you.”
Born into a wrestling family — her older brother Austin is a sophomore for MVPCS — Hauge began competing in preschool. She began racking up the medals, including a third-place finish at the 2019 AAU winter nationals.
Hauge is 11-2 this season, with both losses coming in matches against boys. On Friday, Hauge pinned Lemmon/McIntosh’s Darla Barnes — who won the first ever girls state-tournament match earlier in the day — in 19 seconds. She followed up the win with a fall against Canton’s Andrea Anderson in 3 minutes, 33 seconds, her eighth pin of the season.
Next up is Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon’s Brittany Rieb, who scored a pair of major decisions to reach the finals. The two have wrestled several times in the past, including a match won by Hauge on Jan. 2.
“I know Brittany. We’ve been wrestling quite a long time,” Hauge said. “(Winning a state championship) is something I’ve dreamt about for a while.”
MCM’s Krouse, Remmers finally reach state finals
Entering the state tournament, a McCook Central/Montrose wrestler has posted a 40-win season eight times in two seasons, but could not secure a state finals berth.
On Friday, a pair of Fighting Cougars finally ended the drought as Jacobi Krouse and Jackson Remmers qualified for the Class B state finals.
Krouse has 202 career wins — four consecutive 40-win seasons — and has wrestled 287 varsity matches, but Saturday’s Class B 182-pound championship against Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes’ Spencer Hanson will be his first finals appearance in his last high school match.
“All of my friends worked so hard to get here and they never got the chance to be state champion,” said Krouse, who finished fifth in 2020 and eighth in 2019. “I almost want to do it for them. … I don’t like to think about the past and I don’t like regretting anything I do. If (someone) ends up beating me, then I’ll know they’re truly better than me.”
Remmers has not waited as long as Krause, but the MCM freshman won 98 matches during his first two varsity seasons, only to be thwarted at the state tournament. After placing fourth at 106 in 2019 and sixth at 126 in 2020, Remmers moved up to 132 this season.
He has gone 34-3 and advanced to the finals with a 4-3 decision over KWLPG’s Chase Varilek. He will face Wessington Springs/Woonsocket/Wolsey-Wessington’s Joey Hoverson in the finals.
“It just feels great,” Remmers said. “All the time paid off. … (Losing) really sucked. Winning all season and then losing in the match I needed to get to the finals. It just feels really good (to reach the finals).”
Howard’s Miller returns to finals to set unbeaten title tilt
Lane Miller has tasted a state championship and now he gets another crack.
The Howard senior won the Class B 113-pound title in 2019, the last time the state tournament was held in Rapid City. Last year, Miller bumped up to 138 pounds and won 49 matches, but he placed third in the state tournament.
With a 145-pound semifinal 3-1 decision over Philip Area’s Blair Blasius Friday, Miller is back in the state finals, setting up a battle of unbeatens with Winner Area’s two-time state champion Kaden Keiser.
“Wrestling at 113, you could kind of bully kids around a little bit, especially since I was cutting a lot of weight,” said Miller, who is 39-0. “At 138, guys are a lot stronger. I got in the weight room in the summer and I’ve been wrestling with good partners all season. … Kaden’s good, but I just have to wrestle my match.”