Two seniors repeated their high finishes as Nathan Bauer took second at 170 pounds and Jaden Schilling took third at 132 pounds at the State B Wrestling Tournament, held Friday and Saturday at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls.
Along with Bauer and Schilling, four more Tigers earned trips to the medals stand. Sophomore Jacob Steiger took fourth at 113, senior Stone Jensen took fifth at 182, junior Isaac Olson took seventh at 152 and senior Jason Gerry took eighth at 195. With the singular successes, the Tigers scored 78 points and took seventh place. The seventh-place finish is the highest for the Tigers since taking fifth in 1996. Six medals is the second best in team history. The 1991 team matched this year with six medals. The 1982 state champion Tigers won seven medals.
“I’m really proud of everybody,” said coach Nathan Ford. “Not just for the state tournament, but for the whole season. We would have liked to win a couple more matches, but it’s the state tournament.”
After surprising the 170-pound field with his second-place finish last year, Bauer came into this tourney seeded third. He dispatched Riggin Shippy of Winner Area 5-1 and Ty Namanny of Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes 9-4 to get to the semifinal, where he faced second seed Keagan Fitch of Philip Area. Fitch had beaten Bauer 4-1 in the Winner tournament and 2-0 one week ago in Region 4B, but Bauer would turn things around with a 2-1 win. In the championship, Bauer ran into undefeated Caleb Orris of Clark/Willow Lake. Orris got the match’s only takedown and edged Bauer 3-1.
“That’s the most aggressive I’ve ever seen Nathan wrestle,” said Ford. “From the opening whistle, he was non-stop.”
On Bauer’s semifinal win over Fitch, Ford said, “He went out and wrestled his match. Even before he went on the mat it was going to be his match.”
Schilling, who took third at 138 last year, came into the tourney ranked third at 132. Schilling won a 6-3 match over Brennan Hanes of Custer/Edgemont and then pinned Hunter Kloos of Deuel in his first two matches. In the semis, he ran into the number two seed, 35-2 Jackson Eklund of Burke/Gregory and fell 8-1. Schilling responded with a 10-8 win over Gage Burke of Clark/Willow Lake, before shutting out J.D. Carter of Stanley County 6-0 in the third-place match.
“He had a great state tournament,” said Ford. “He wrestled tough every match. He just came up a little short in the semifinals. He took care of Carter in the third-place match.”
Steiger’s signature moment in taking fourth at 113 came in the second round of wrestlebacks. Steiger trailed Isiah Grimm of Sisseton 5-2 with less than 30 seconds left when he used a takedown and two back points to pull off a come-from-behind 6-5 win. He followed that up with a 14-7 win over Kieffer Klinkhammer of Howard, before falling 7-5 to Blair Blasius of Philip Area in the third-place match. Steiger opened with a pin over Shilo Lowry of Lyman. He lost a 6-3 match to eventual second-place winner Braxton Trowbridge of Canton and then pinned Dragr Monson of Groton Area.
“Jacob opened a few eyes,” said Ford. “A couple of guys might have overlooked him and he took it to them. He could have finished higher. He earned some points that he didn’t get credit for.”
Jensen took fifth at 182 pounds for the second straight year. The 41-7 senior earned an 8-6 win over Zam Centeno of Parker and a 7-4 win over Cullen Rutton of Canton, but fell 5-3 to Aidyn Feldhaus of Howard, who was on his way to winning the state title. Jensen got caught and was pinned by Jeremiah Beck of Burke/Gregory in the next round before fighting off Garrett Heil of Hot Springs 4-2 and claiming fifth place.
“Stone wrestled great,” said Ford. “It’s not like he had a slack weight class. It was stacked and I’m proud of the way he wrestled.”
Olson earned his first state medal in taking seventh at 152. Olson fought for a 5-1 overtime win over Weston Ireland, but ran into state champ Alex Aesoph of Faulkton Area and lost a tough 2-0 match in the next round. He came back to beat Chayce Rausch of Potter County 12-3, but was pinned by Dom Pechous of Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon his next match. Olson claimed the seventh-place medal by pinning Ethan Marx of Elk Point-Jefferson at 5:48.
“I bet he gave Aesoph his toughest match,” said Ford. “Isaac was looking for more than seventh, but seventh is still big. There’s a lot of other wrestlers who wish they could have been in his shoes.”
Gerry went 2-3 to take eighth at 195 and medal for the second straight year. He opened by pinning Keaden Wagner of Garretson at the 2:31 mark, but ran into state champion Cooper Baloun of Redfield Area in the next round and was pinned. He guaranteed his medal in the next round with a 10-3 win over Tanner Peterson of McCook Central/Montrose. Gerry was pinned by Brady Schoenfelder of Parkston and then got edged 3-2 by K.J. St. Pierre of Wagner.
“Jason had a tough weight class,” said Ford. “Even getting eighth was not an easy task. That weight class had a lot of big kids.”
An ankle injury cut senior Carson Keller’s tournament short. After opening with a 5-3 overtime win over Trevor Petrik of Howard, the Tigers’ 285-pounder hurt his ankle early in the second period against Tanner Grocott of McCook Central/Montrose. He could not finish and had to surrender the injury default. Keller tried to come back against Micah DeBoer of Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon, but the ankle would not allow it. Keller had to give up and take the loss for the second straight match.
Ford said he is sure Keller would have made it to the medal stand had he not been injured. He added that the team could have used 138-pound senior Kegan Pearman who injured his knee late in the season. The two seniors would have helped the Tigers score more points and finish even higher.
Junior Tucson Freeman won one match at 145 pounds. Freeman lost an 11-5 match to Joey Wheeler of Potter County in the first round. He came back to pin Taelon Jensen of Tri-Valley, but was beaten 9-0 by Michael Witte of Flandreau. Witte went on to take third, while Wheeler took fifth.
Freshmen Isaac Aman and Kamron Pearman had 0-2 tourneys.
Team Scores: Canton 165, Winner Area 111.5, Howard 100, Philip Area 96.5, Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon 84.5, Clark/Willow Lake 83, Mobridge-Pollock 78, McCook Central/Montrose 75, Redfield Area 68, Wagner 65, Parkston 60, Burke/Gregory 50, Faulkton Area 47.5, Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes 47, Webster Area 45, Elk Point-Jefferson 42.5, Mt. Vernon/Plankinton/Corsica-Stickney 40, Garretson 37, Miller/Highmore-Harrold 36, Sisseton 33, Groton Area 32, Custer/Edgemont 31, Bennett County 30, Tri-Valley 27.5, Stanley County 27, Lemmon/McIntosh 24, Hot Springs 20, Lyman 20, Parker 20, Flandreau 19, Harding County 17, Lead-Deadwood 15, Potter County 13, Britton-Hecla 9, Deuel 5, Wolsey-Wessington 5, Kingsbury County 4, Hill City 3, Marion/Freeman 3, Newell 3, St. Thomas More 2, Sunshine Bible Academy 2, Wessington Springs/Woonsocket 1.
106: Isaac Aman (22-24): was pinned by Riley Whitley, Redfield Area, 1:31; was pinned by Caleb Dietrich, Flandreau, 2:47.
113: Jacob Steiger (43-12) fourth place: pinned Shilo Mowry, Lyman, 1:46; was defeated by Braxton Trowbridge, Canton, 6-3; pinned Dragr Monson, Groton Area, 2:34; defeated Isiah Grimm, Sisseton, 6-5; defeated Kieffer Klinkhammer, Howard, 14-7; was defeated by Blair Blasius, Philip Area, 7-5.
120: Kamron Pearman (22-18): was defeated by Hayden Pierret, Garretson, 13-4, major decision; was pinned by Max Johnson, Lead-Deadwood, 4:37.
132: Jaden Schilling (40-7) third place: defeated Brennan Hanes, Custer/Edgemont, 6-3; pinned Hunter Kloos, Deuel, 4:00; was defeated by Jackson Eklund, Burke/Gregory, 8-1; defeated Gage Burke, Clark/Willow Lake, 10-8; defeated J.D. Carter, Stanley County, 6-0.
145: Tucson Freeman (45-15): was defeated by Joey Wheeler, Potter County, 11-5; pinned Taelon Jensen, Tri-Valley, 2:22; was defeated by Michael Witte, Flandreau, 9-0 major decision.
152: Isaac Olson (31-9) seventh place: defeated Weston Ireland, Bennett County, 5-1 SV-1; was defeated by Alex Aesoph, Faulkton Area, 2-0; defeated Chayce Rausch, Potter County, 12-3 major decision; was pinned by Dom Pechous, Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon, 1:55; pinned Ethan Marx, Elk Point-Jefferson, 5:48.
170: Nathan Bauer (31-5) second place: defeated Riggin Shippy, Winner Area, 5-1; defeated Ty Namanny, Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes, 9-4; defeated Keagan Fitch, Philip Area, 2-1; was defeated by Caleb Orris, Clark/Willow Lake, 3-1.
182: Stone Jensen (41-7) fifth place: defeated Zam Centeno, Parker, 8-6; defeated Cullen Rutten, Canton, 7-4; was defeated by Aidyn Feldhaus, Howard, 5-3; was pinned by Jeremiah Beck, Burke/Gregory, 1:53; defeated Garrett Heil, Hot Springs, 4-2.
195: Jason Gerry (28-16) eighth place: pinned Keaden Wagner, Garretson 2:31; was pinned by Cooper Baloun, Redfield Area, 3:59; defeated Tanner Peterson, McCook Central/Montrose, 10-3; was pinned by Brady Schoenfelder, Parkston, 4:16; was defeated by K.J. St. Pierre, Wagner, 3-2.
285: Carson Keller (24-13): defeated Trevor Petrik, Howard, 5-3 SV-1; lost by injury default to Tanner Grocott, McCook Central/Montrose; lost by injury default to Micah DeBoer, Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon.