For wrestlers from Vermillion High School and everywhere else in South Dakota, the postseason has almost arrived, and next week it will be do-or-die time.
The Tanagers will compete in the Region 2A tournament hosted by Washington High School in Sioux Falls next Thursday and Friday evenings. The top four placers in each weight class will qualify for the state "A" tournament at the Sioux Falls Arena on Feb. 25-26.
Joining Vermillion in Region 2A will be Brandon Valley, Harrisburg, Lennox, Sioux Falls Lincoln, Sioux Falls Washington, Tea Area, West Central and Yankton.
The Tanagers will get a strong warm-up test for the regional with their final regular-season duals at home in the VHS gym tonight (Friday) against Washington and Harrisburg. Action starts at 5:15 p.m.
Last week Vermillion was weathered out of three duals when Dakota Valley's quadrangular was cancelled. Marion-Freeman and Beresford were also planning to be there. Coach Joe Delvaux lamented the fact that the Tanagers have basically lost nine duals, not to mention several practices, due to poor travel conditions and school closings.
The Tanagers did get in a home dual against Crofton on Thursday night and won the event by a 45-36 score. Vermillion was open at two weights, and Crofton forfeited at three weights, leaving nine classes to be wrestled on the mat. The Tanagers won the first three by pins, the Warriors answered with three straight pins, Vermillion took the next with a pin, Crofton won the next with a pin, and Will Mart's decision at 215 pounds was the decision-maker.
Brett Bye and Brenden Raizola took little time in pinning their opponents to the mat. At 119 Bye pinned Crofton's J.T. Allen in 19 seconds, and Raizola did the same in 42 seconds over Corbin Wavrunek. Regan Bye followed with a 2:35 pin over Dominic Pederson.
Crofton answered with Dominic Miller's pin of Brandon Hertz in 1:40, Jon Kleinschmit's 5:19 pin over Alex Osborne at 145, and a 57-second pin by Logan Schieffer over Paul Day at 152.
Dexter Mehlhaf put Crofton's Jake Guenther to the floor in 3:53 at 160 pounds, but the Warriors' Brady Steffen pinned Chris Weber in 1:48 at 171 pounds.
Mart and Deryk Wortmann were tied 2-2 after two periods of their 215-pound clash. Mart scored an escape with 1:10 left and held on to that precarious lead until adding a takedown in the final second for a 5-2 decision.