VHS wrestlers show improvement

VHS wrestlers show improvement by Jim Prosser The Vermillion Tanagers wrestling team was represented in eight weight classes at the Winner Invitational involving 14 schools from a wide area Saturday, Jan. 19.

There were five preliminary rounds, including byes, followed by semi finals and championships. Towns entered in the meet and their final team scores were: Mitchell (238.5); Valentine (184.5); Winner (148.5); Gregory (129.5); Belle Fourche (122.5); Lead (119.5); Hot Springs (107.5); Lennox (81); Redfield (75); Vermillion (69); Custer (64); Pine Ridge (53); Cheyenne-Eagle Butte (41); Todd County (20).

(KEY: WBF � won by fall; LBF � lost by fall; TF � technical fall; MD � major decision)

Individual results first round: 103 � Kyle Hubert WBF 0:35; 112 � JJ LaMie LBF 2:29; 119 � Brett Nielsen LBF 0:34; 125 � Andy Hayner (bye); 171 � Kellen Cusick WBF 0:46; 189 � Taylor Birgen (bye); 215 � Brad Simons (bye); Hwt � Ray O�Connor (bye).

Second round results: 103 � Hubert LBF 0:25; 112 � LaMie (bye) 119 � Nielsen (bye); 125 � Hayner def J. Atkins (Lennox) 9 � 8; 171 � Cusick LBF 1:36; 189 � Birgen LBF 0:30; 215 � Simons def J. Appel (Redfield) 5 � 4; Hwt � O�Connor WBF over C. Esser (Redfield) 2:26.

Third round results: 103 � Hubert WBF over S. Bice (Winner) 2:55; 112 � LaMie WBF over T. Ulmer (Winner) 2:42; 119 � Nielsen LBF 2:49; 125 � Hayner lost MD 11 � 2; 171 � Cusick (bye); 189 � Birgen (bye); 215 � Simons LBF 4:36; Hwt � O�Connor WBF over Walters (Cheyenne-Eagle Butte) 0:34.

Fourth round results: 103 � Hubert def Thelen (Redfield) 2 � 0; 112 � Lamie LBF 4:26.

Fifth round results: 125 � Hayner lost 5 � 0; 171 � Cusick lost 3 � 1; 189 � Birgen LBF 0:36; 215 � Simons WBF over Novotny (Winner) 3:57.

Sixth round results: 103 � Hayner LBF 1:16; 215 � Simons LBF 1:23.

Championship: HWT � O�Connor WBF over Arnold (Valentine) 0:42.

VHS individual records in the meet; Kyle Hubert 3 � 2 tie for fifth; JJ LaMie 2 � 2; Brett Nielsen 0 � 2; Andy Hayner 2 � 2 tie for fifth; Kellen Cusick 2 � 2; Taylor Birgen 2 � 2; Brad Simons 2 � 2 fourth; Ray O�Connor 4 � 0 first.

�I was very proud of our performance on Saturday at the Winner Wrestling Invitational,� said coach Casey O�Connor. �Our entire lineup wrestled very well against some great competition. A coach has to be pleased when half of his squad places at an individual tournament such as Winner.�

O�Connor made these observations:

? Kyle Hubert is continually improving by the week. He is continuing to eliminate mistakes that were costing him matches earlier in the season. Kyle is certainly one to watch over the next few years considering he is still in middle school. Excellent performance by Hubert.

? J.J. LaMie is gaining confidence each times he steps on the mat. J.J. had a great match against Ulmer of Winner by pinning him in 2:42.

? Brett Nielsen continues to gain valuable match experience by stepping up a weight class and wrestling to help his team. His continual drive for improvement will make him a solid addition to the line up in the upcoming years.

? Andy Hayner continues to wrestle aggressively on the mat. Hayner upset fourth seed Atkins of Lennox in the second round of the tournament. Andy has really turned it on and is looking great for the upcoming weeks before the regional tournament.

? Kellen Cusick went two for two. Kellen had a very salty weight class with top-rated wrestlers in the As and Bs. Kellen had a great match the first round by pinning Walters of CEB in 46 seconds.

? Taylor Birgen is continuing to improve over the year. His technique and mat movement is continuing to improve and the elimination of mental mistakes has helped Taylor over the past few weeks.

? Brad Simons had a great performance Saturday. He was 2-2 on the day and placed fourth overall. Brad�s technique has improved greatly since the beginning of the year. He has become more physical and faster on his feet, which is enabling him to be more successful on the mat.

? Ray O�Connor again had an outstanding weekend. His season record is now 32-0. Ray went 4-0 on the day with four pins. Ray is physically dominant and mentally focused on the mat.

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