compete at state tourney By Parker Knox
Sportswriter Nine wrestlers will wear Vermillion's colors in the final event of the season, the state "A" tournament at Watertown, Friday and Saturday. Those nine and the rest of the Tanager club compiled 159.5 points to place second among nine schools in the Region 2A tournament at Hartford. Canton, which qualified 11 men for state, won the regional team title with 210 points. "This was our best tournament of the season," remarked Coach Joe Delvaux. "We always work for that perfect tournament, and this was just about it." With Canton and Sturgis considered favorites to win the state title, the Tanagers aren't quite ready to give up on that dream either. "If you have offense and manage your match and stay calm, you have a chance to advance," Delvaux said. "That's the way we're heading into state, and we're in good shape." Vermillion claimed three individual regional championships, starting with T.J. North at 112 pounds. The sophomore dynamo still has a perfect season going. His 39th straight win was a 21-5 technical fall over Michael Mazourek, Lennox, in the finals. Andrew Eidem's last regional of his career ended in a title at 145 pounds. He earned the crown with an overtime pin of West Central's Zach Mettler in 6:13. Gerrit Heine also went into overtime to win his crown at heavyweight, subduing Sioux Falls Lincoln's Taylor Bissell, 4-2, in the finals. Earl Kiertzner at 130 pounds, Brad Orr at 152 and Chris Mart at 160 all reached championship matches before placing second. Kiertzner's match with Canton's Jeremiah Peterson, a former state champ, was a two-point match going into the third period. Peterson won it 11-7. Orr lost in his finals to Josh Jorgensen of Lennox, 14-2, and Mart lost 5-3 to Canton's Tom Davies, who is unbeaten at 39-0. Lance Burkhart is stuck in the 125-pound class which Delvaux describes as "stacked," but he came out with third place, winning in overtime, 6-4, over Harrisburg's Alex Oaks. J.R. Moore at 135, who has come on strong in the last half of the season, also earned third, beating Washington's Sam Schulz, 6-2, for that medal. The other Tanager qualifier is Will Mart, who wasn't seeded going into the regional but who told his coach he was going to go to state. He made it happen, clinching the trip in the wrestlebacks round before placing fourth in a 3:52 pin at the hands of Washington's Drew Cosand in the third-place contest. Here are the VHS state meet contestants with their current records and those of their first-round opponents: 112: T.J. North (junior, 39-0) vs. Seth McFarland, Spearfish (sophomore, 29-13). 125: Lance Burkhart (sophomore, 34-8) vs. C.J. Clark, Rapid City Central (sophomore, 15-7). 130: Earl Kiertzner (junior, 27-9) vs. Josh Stoltenburg, Pierre (sophomore, 22-14). 135: J.R. Moore (senior, 25-14) vs. Alex Defea, Milbank (senior, 32-12). 145: Andrew Eidem (senior, 34-3) vs. Casey Goodhart, Sisseton (freshman, 25-15). 152: Brad Orr (senior, 29-3) vs. Brycen Nelson, Brookings (freshman, 17-21). 160: Chris Mart (junior, 29-9) vs. Zack Chammel, Sisseton (sophomore, 20-20). 215: Will Mart (freshman, 23-20) vs. Baker Haar, Aberdeen Central (senior, 35-3). Hwt.: Gerrit Heine (junior, 32-4) vs. Kyle Benne, Rapid City Stevens (sophomore, 16-23).