By Parker Knox
If winter weather conditions allow it, six athletes will wear Tanager red and white in the State “A” Wrestling Tournament at the Watertown Civic Arena when competition begins this morning.
Vermillion, standing seventh as a team in nine-school Region 2A, surged upward on the final night of that tournament at Sioux Falls Lincoln last week and earned a fourth-place finish with 87 team points, leapfrogging ahead of Harrisburg (84), Dakota Valley (82), Lincoln (76), Tea Area (41) and Lennox (35). Washington overpowered the field for the regional title with 193.5 points, followed by Brandon Valley at 159.5 and Yankton at 118.5.
The Tanagers claimed two individual regional champions in Regan Bye and Brett Bye; a third-place wrestler in Carter Kratz, and three fourth-place men in Kyle Seibel, Brandon Hertz and Seth Heine. Advancing to the state meet required no worse than a fourth-place finish.
Here is how each Tanager experienced the regional meet:
145: Regan Bye
Bye dominated Brady Dam, Dakota Valley, 11-4 in the first round and edged Grant Dougherty, Brandon Valley, 7-6, in the semis. For his championship Bye decisioned Yankton’s Matt Huber, 6-5. In the final state ratings Huber had been ranked fifth in the state, Bye sixth and Dougherty seventh.
152: Brett Bye
The state’s top-rated man in his class, the once-beaten Bye pinned Lincoln’s Joe Weaver in 3:05 and did the same to Josh Goeman, Lennox, in 3:59. For his championship Bye outmanned Wyatt Winter, Brandon Valley, 6-1. Winter was ranked eighth in the state ratings.
138: Carter Kratz
Kratz began with a 3:37 pin over Washington’s Orlando Ramierez and continued in the quarterfinals with a 1:21 pin over Brock Stein, Lennox. Kratz sustained an 11-5 semifinal loss to Lincoln’s Skyler Castilleja (ranked seventh in the state compared to Kratz’s eighth). Kratz got through the consolation finals with a forfeit win, then captured third with a 1:56 pin over Mason Strahl, Yankton (ranked 11th).
106: Kyle Seibel
In a tough weight class Seibel got a jump on his state tourney trip with a first-round 4-3 decision over Brandon Valley’s Dawson Kremlacek. Seibel lost in the semis to the No. 2 man in the state ratings, Washington’s Chase O’Connor, on a pin in 39 seconds, but he rebounded when he had to, decisioning Nick Schirado, Harrisburg, 7-1. In the third-place match Seibel ran up against Hunter O’Connor, Lincoln (ranked No. 4 in the state), and lost on a pin in 0:37.
160: Brandon Hertz
A 4-2 overtime win over Spencer Heidbrink, Brandon Valley, in the first round was key for Hertz. In the semis he lost on a 1:35 pin to James Hisek, Yankton, the eventual champion who was ranked No. 6 in the state ratings. Hertz fought back with a 2:24 pin over Max Hooker, Lincoln, to earn his state trip. In the third-place match Hertz lost on a 4:02 pin to Lane Warzecha, Harrisburg (ranked 12th).
182: Seth Heine
Heine got down to business with a pin in 46 seconds over Yankton’s Cody Hanzlik. In the semis Heine lost 8-0 to eventual champ Dan Marlette, Washington. Heine qualified with a 1:33 pin of Zach Ford, Lennox, then lost 3-0 in the third-place match to Gabe Langner, Brandon Valley.
113: Jacob Husby
Husby lost 10-0 to Washington’s Brock Wulf, then was eliminated in a 5-1 loss to Mikio Kurolwa, Lincoln.
120: Mason Pickett
Pickett drew No. 3 in the state ratings, David Potratz, Washington, first and was pinned in 1:07. Pickett then was pinned in 3:12 by Tyler Schrunk, Dakota Valley.
170: Alex Osborne
Osborne was pinned in the first round by Tea Area’s Chris Kuhl in 2:24. He won his next match but missed out on a state tourney trip by the narrowest of margins, sustaining a 7-5 overtime loss to Zac Freese, Washington, in the consolation finals.
195: Noah Westergaard
Westergaard was pinned in 1:31 by Washington’s Jonah DeVries (No. 8 in the state ratings), then lost by technical fall, 17-2, to No. 10 Andrew Sorensen, Brandon Valley.
220: Zach Westergaard
Eventual champion Taylor Lambert, Dakota Valley (No. 5 in the state ratings) pinned Westergaard in 0:21 in the first round. He then lost by pin in 2:49 to Kyle Hansen, Harrisburg (ranked No. 10).