Four Tanager grapplers are bound for state tournament by Jim Prosser The Vermillion Tanager wrestlers competed in the Region 2A tournament at Brandon Valley High School Thursday and Friday, Feb. 14 and 15.
Brandon Valley scored 150 points to win the tourney over the other seven entrants � Yankton, Lennox, Sioux Falls Washington, Sioux Falls Lincoln, West Central, Canton and Vermillion. The only VHS wrestler to make it to the championship finals was Ray O�Connor, who placed second at HWT. Kyle Hubert at 103 pounds and Andy Hayner at 125 pounds each finished third and Brad Simons placed fourth at 215 pounds. All four qualified for the state tournament.
KEY: WBF � won by fall; LBF � lost by fall; TF � technical fall; MD � major decision; WF � forfeit.
Individual results in the first round matches were: 103 � Kyle Hubert decision Josh Montgomery (C) 10-5; 112 � Andy Hayner, JJ LaMie LBF to Chris Reisdorfer (SFL) 1:16; 119 � Brett Nielsen LBF 1:34 to Andrew Kirstein (SFL); 125 � Andy Hayner LBF 3:54 to Matt Stukel (Y); 160 � Adam Hasse LBF 4:42 to Chad Olson (SFL); 171 � Kellen Cusick WBF 1:12 over Nathan Jones (BV) 189 � Taylor Birgen LBF 0:53 to Andy Smit (L); 215 � Brad Simons lost by 3-4 decision to Dustin Edburg(WC); HWT � Ray O�Connor WBF 5:05 over Nick Guillaume (WC).
Second round match results: 103 � Hubert LBF 1:30 to Mike Lere (BV); 112 � LaMie lost 1-6 decision to Chad Morrison (WC); 119 � Nielsen lost 4-12 MD to Justin Larson (SFW); 125 � Hayner won 6-2 decision over Joe Weber (WC); 160 � Hasse LBF 3:44 to Brad Paulson (BV); 171 � Cusick lost 7-5 decision to Justin Tuntland (C); 189 � Birgen lost 7-9 decision to Cody Miller (BV); 215 � Simons won 6-4 decision over Cody Black (BV); HWT � O�Connor WBF 2:52 over Ken Longman (L).
Third round match results: 103 � Hubert won 11-1 MD over Dustin Holter (WC); 125 � Hayner WBF 4:44 over Kyle Maxwell (BV); Jeramie Degen (SFR); 171 � Cusick LBF 4:06 to Russ Heddleston (SFL); 215 � Simons won 3-2 decision over Dwight Montgomery (C).
Third place results: 103 � Hubert won 6-2 decision over Nathan Smith (Y) to Tyler Carda (BV); 125 � Hayner won 4-3 decision over Matt Stukel (Y); 215 � Simons lost 1-3 decision to Bellmer (Y).
Championship results: HWT � Ray O�Connor lost 1-1 decision overtime criteria to Justin Frick (Y).
Vermillion coach Casey O�Connor gave a mini-evaluation of each Tanager member on the tournament team:
? 103 � Kyle Hubert. Kyle had a fantastic performance at the regional tournament. He was very aggressive from the feet and was finishing his shot, which allowed him to stack up several impressive wins. He is a first time state qualifier.
? 112 � J.J. LaMie. J.J. wrestled very well. He grew leaps and bounds throughout the season. I am looking forward to have J.J. back in the lineup several more years.
? 119 � Brett Nielsen. Brett is another one of our wrestlers who has shown great gains. I really appreciate the team dedication he gave by wrestling up a weight class for us all year. Brett is another young wrestler who will contribute to the team for several more years.
? 125 � Andy Hayner. Andy had a slow start, but bounced back to the Andy of old that I have enjoyed watching this year. After the first round, he knew what had to be done, went out, and accomplished it. He is also a first time state qualifier.
? 160 � Adam Hasse. I was very impressed with how hard Adam worked to be able to compete in the regional tournament. He had a few weeks to get in shape and prepare for the tournament. I am looking forward to having him back as a senior next year.
? 171 � Kellen Cusick. Kellen had a wonderful regional performance, but just fell short of the qualifying round. I was very proud of Kellen to battle back from illness the week of the regions and wrestle as well as he did. He will certainly be one to reckon with next year, since he is only a sophomore.
? 189 � Taylor Birgen. Taylor wrestled very well, but also fell short of the qualifying rounds. He is the kind of wrestler a coach enjoys on the team. He is always working, never complains and continues to improve.
? 215 � Brad Simons. Brad had a slow start, but bounced back with important wins when they were needed. He has continued to improve throughout the season, which has allowed him to win several key matches throughout the year. Brad is also a first time state qualifier.
? HWT � Ray O�Connor. Ray had two impressive wins early in the tournament, but just fell short in the finals against Frick from Yankton. I feel Ray will re-evaluate and mentally prepare himself for the state tournament. Ray also reached a truly wonderful milestone this past weekend by tying the Vermillion High School career wins record. Congratulations on this outstanding accomplishment.