(Photo by Royal McGregor/Yankton P&D)
(Photo by James Cimburek/Yankton P&D)
A fifth-place medal for Lance Burkhart in his senior year, and a sixth-place finish for eighth-grader Brett Bye.
That was the verdict at the state A wrestling tournament for Vermillion as the Tanagers, with five participants having qualified, placed 20th on the team standings board with 26 accumulated points.
Burkhart, completing his VHS career with a 21-4 record for this season, wrestled six matches in Sioux Falls in the 140-pound class, winning three of them, and there wasn't a dull match in the bunch.
He started Friday morning with a first-round pin at 5:57 three seconds before the end of the final period over Chris Dschaak of Belle Fourche. Just how close Burkhart came to advancing even farther in the championship bracket is indicated by the result of his quarterfinal a 1-0 loss to Aberdeen Centrals Griffin Hieb, the eventual state runner-up.
Burkhart fought back in the wrestlebacks, winning 3-0 over Brailey Konvalin of Rapid City Stevens, then pinning David Jackson of Sturgis at 4:00. Jackson had come into the match with a 35-9 record.
Burkhart faced Rapid City Centrals C.J. Clark, who came in with a 46-3 record, in the fourth wrestleback, trying to reach the third-place match, but succumbed to a pin by Clark in 4:12. That put the Tanager senior into the fifth-place contest where he scored three takedowns and a reversal to accumulate his points in an 8-4 decision over Tyler Gee of Dell Rapids.
Bye stood on the sixth-place step of the winners' podium for the second straight year and finished his season with a 31-10 mark. He reached the final four among the 112-pounders by scoring a 13-3 major decision in the opening round over Wyatt Shillingstad of Huron and then outscoring Reece Norton of Belle Fourche, 11-7, in the quarterfinals.
In a tough semifinal Bye came up against the eventual state champion, Pierres Tanner Monfore (31-3), and lost 3-1. That moved the Tanager youngster into a fourth-round wrestleback match where he was pinned by Jordan Redmond of Milbank in 1:37. Finally in the fifth-place match Bye lost a 3-2 squeaker to Keaton Ohlsen of Rapid City Stevens.
At 215 pounds junior Will Mart had a great start, pinning Madisons Blake Gusso to the mat in 4:30 in the first round. But the luck of the draw was all bad for Mart in the quarterfinals where he had to face unbeaten Clint Wilson of Sturgis, the eventual state champion, who the next day would complete a perfect 47-0 season. Wilson topped Mart by technical fall, 15-0.
Mart's season came to an end in his first wrestleback match where he lost 5-3 to Rapid City Central's Aaron Rude. Mart ended up 20-11 for the year.
Brenden Raizola took an 18-14 record to the state meet but lost twice at 125. He was pinned in 4:25 by Evan Weiler, Rapid City Central, the eventual fifth-place man, then lost an 8-3 decision to Huron's Michael Johnson in the wrestlebacks.
The other Tanager qualifier, Regan Bye, won one of his three matches in the 130-pound division. He lost by major decision, 17-4, to Pierre's Chance Scott in the first round but rebounded with an 11-4 decision over Tate McVay of Sturgis. In the second wrestleback round Bye lost his chance to place when he was ousted by Mitchells Landon Neugebauer, the eventual seventh-placer, 5-3. Byes final record was 21-20.
As expected, three Black Hills schools occupied the top three spots in the team standings Stevens 152.5, Sturgis 147.5 and Central 139.5. Pierre was the best of the rest of the state with 132 points for fourth place as schools from the ESD Conference filled in fourth through ninth places.