With athletes from 15 Class "A" and Class "B" teams providing competition equal to that of the state tournaments, Vermillion's wrestlers dived headfirst into the Floyd Farrand Invitational in Sioux Falls last week and came up for air with an individual champion and three other placers.
Brett Bye remained unbeaten for the season with four dominating victories to capture the 132-pound championship. Will Mart placed fifth at 285 pounds, Seth Heine sixth at 220 and Regan Bye seventh at 138.
As expected, Sturgis emerged as the team champion with 198 points, followed by Brookings at 146, Wagner at 139, Washington at 133.5 and Watertown at 132.
Bye accumulated double-digit points in a 20-5 technical fall first-round win over Washington's Orlando Ramirez, then pinned O'Gorman's Conor Tomac in 3:14 in the quarterfinals. He scored another tech fall, this time by a 23-6 count, in the semis over Roosevelt's Zach Determan, then clinched the title with an 11-3 major decision over Watertown's Matt Lawrence in his championship match.
Mart opened with a forfeit win over Sisseton's Howard Herberg and a quarterfinal 12-0 major decision over Washington's Chris Vroman. In the semis, however, Mart ran into eventual champion Justin Behrend, Brookings, and dropped an 11-9 decision. In the fourth-round wrestlebacks Mart was pinned in 0:59 by Lincoln's Hunter Collins. Mart then won fifth place with a default win over Watertown's Tyler Robel.
Heine's path to a medal started with a 3:59 pin of O'Gorman's Jack Schuver, then Heine lost by a 1:10 pin to Brookings' Zach Weier. Heine rebounded with a pin victory in 2:04 over Canton's Chase Beltzel, won a 7-1 decision over Kyle Hansen, Harrisburg, and lost a 10-4 decision in the fourth-round wrestlebacks to Sisseton's Aaron Toelle. In the fifth-place match Heine faced Weier again and was pinned in 30 seconds.
Regan Bye won by an 18-2 technical fall in the first round over Roosevelt's Sean Muilenburg but loss in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Nick Monteith, Sturgis, 5-3. Bye then decisioned Wagner's Brady Soulek, 4-2, lost 2-1 to William Hins, Milbank, and won the seventh-place match with a 4:04 pin over Sisseton's Dillon George.
Three other Tanagers won one match at the tournament before being eliminated. At 106 Kyle Seibel lost by pin in 1:04 to Kahlen Morris, Roosevelt; decisioned Tait Johnson, Garretson, 5-4, and lost by pin in 0:37 to Levi Butts, Watertown. At 113 Brandon Steenholdt lost 8-7 to Zach Gross, Harrisburg; pinned Hunter O'Connor, Lincoln, in 1:53 and lost by pin in 3:52 to Jesse Skidmore, Sturgis. At 160 Alex Osborne lost a 14-4 major decision to Tracy Halouska, Lennox; won a 9-0 major decision over Austin Schruers, Canton, and lost 7-1 to Francis Boehmer, Roosevelt.
Four other VHS wrestlers lost both of their matches. Josh Callahan at 126 lost by pin in 1:52 to Ryan O'Connor, Lincoln, and by 10-0 major decision to Kaleb Haas, Howard. At 152 Brandon Hertz was pinned twice, by Wyatt Winter, Brandon Valley, in 1:50 and by Sterling Gehrke, Watertown, in 0:55. Dan Goeden at 182 lost a pair of pins – in 0:38 to Tanner Broughton, Canton, and in 1:22 to Nick Pardy, Howard. At 195 Jason Retzlaff lost by pin twice – to Dan Marlette, Washington, in 0:39 and to Jake Russell, Brookings, in 3:51.
Tanager wrestlers begin the 2012 portion of their schedule at the Brandon Valley Invitational this Saturday.