VHS grapplers claim tourney championship

Maybe there wasn't a wrestler clad in Vermillion red and white on the mat in every single match of the championship round of Saturday's invitational at Sioux Falls Roosevelt.  But that's the way it seemed.

The Tanagers did, in fact, qualify one of their own for 10 of the 14 championship matches, and seven of those men had their arms raised in triumph after winning individual titles.

With punch like that – in the light weights, in the middle weights and in the heavy weights as well – Vermillion stormed to the tournament's team championship with 258 points. The Tanagers were trailed by Washington with 219.5 points, Lincoln with 160, West Central 155.5, Brandon Valley 138, Harrisburg 109, Tea Area 60 and Roosevelt 58.5.

Regan Bye captured his first varsity tourney title with a 4:27 pin of Harrisburg's Dalton Schneider in the 122-pound championship match to start Vermillion's string of titleholders. Moments later, T.J. North, picking up where he left off in last year's undefeated season, won Vermillion's second crown with a 3:24 pin of Washington's Blake Jans at 119 pounds.

Earl Kiertzner captured the 130-pound championship when he pinned Roosevelt's Brendon Swartz in 3:12. Lance Burkhart made it another back-to-back pair of titles when he won at 135, scoring a 12-2 major decision over Lance Shaull of Tea Area in his final match.

Vermillion scored three straight titles – call it an "All-Mart" trio of winners – at 171, 189 and 215 pounds. Chris Mart pinned Washington's Devon O'Farrell in 3:15 for his crown, Nick Mart triumphed 19-6 for a major decision over West Central's Michael Jensen, and Will Mart emerged as the champ in his class with a 1:27 pin of Brandon Valley's Mike Vigants.

Coach Joe Delvaux had a trio of runners-up. Brett Bye was second at 103 pounds in a 5:37 pin loss to Washington's Dylan Larson. Tanner Mart was second at 160, dropping a 3:06 pin to Tim Weber of West Central in his title match. Chase Allen also wrestled for a crown, finishing second to Lincoln's Taylor Bissell in a 1:52 pin.

Bennet Johnson gave the Tanagers yet another medal, capturing third place at 145 pounds after a 7-2 decision over Michael Buchman of Washington.

The Tanagers will try for their second tournament championship in as many weeks when they join the field at Yankton's invitational. Wrestling begins at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Summit Activities Center.

Next week Vermillion has one match on tap. That's a Thursday dual at West Central at 6:30 p.m.

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