Wildcat boy wrestlers grab third at state

Nathan Steele

The Custer High School boys wrestling team has shattered school records for the second year in a row by earning third place as a team in the Class B State Tournament, one-upping last year’s fourth place finish. The team also came home with two champions in the tournament—Tray Weiss and Parker Noem. Six other wrestlers also placed.
The girls team also had several wrestlers in the tournament with one place-winner, Jessica Hite. The team placed 19th out of 62 teams.
“All of these kids put in a lot of hard work. Finally seeing that pay off is awesome,” said head coach Jared Webster.
Ayden Dooley wrestled in the 106-pound class and wrestled Chase Hurd of Miller-Highmore-Harrold in the first round. Dooley lost the match by pin in 3:39. Dooley then won his next match over Bodie Vanderboom of Newell by 4-1 decision, but lost the next match to Ryvr Larson of Bon Homme-Avon by 8-2 decision, ending his run in the tournament.
Webster said that going into the tournament, the goal for Dooley, who is still an eighth grader, was to win a match. That he did, and scored one point for the team—which could have been the difference between third and fouth place for the team as they beat Winner by just half a point.
Tyler Trant took on Micah Burchfield of Hot Springs in the first round at the 113-pound class and was quick with a takedown within the first five seconds. Trant then followed it up with a pin, winning the match in 1:16. In the next match he got a victory over Cooper Pommer of Clark-Willow Lake by 6-4 decision. That was his last victory of the tournament, losing the next three matches to give him a sixth place finish.
Tray Weiss wrestled  in the 120-pound weight class and took on Webster Area’s Tacey Miller in the first round. By the end of the first period, Weiss was up 8-2 and brought the score up to 17-2 in the second to defeat Miller by technical fall.
Weiss then won his next two matches by decision to put him in the championship match against Kasen Konstanz of Kimball-White Lake-Platte-Geddes. No points were scored until about the last 30 seconds of second period.
Going into the third period Weiss was down 4-0, but with a reversal by Weiss and an escape by Konstanz the score was brought to 5-2. With a minute left on the clock, Weiss scored a takedown which Konstanz escaped from to bring the score to 6-4. In the last 30 seconds Weiss got a takedown and scored back points to bring the score 9-6 and win the championship for his second year in a row.
“It feels good to be above guys that you feel closely competitive with,” said Weiss.
Next year, his goal is to “go get one more”  he said.
Going into the meet, Weiss said he was focused on  “taking it one match at a time.”
Webster described the last period of that match saying, Weiss “got a Tazmanian devil look” and wasn’t giving up. Weiss “never stops moving,” said Webster, and has “a lot of guts.”
Ethan O’Connor wrestled Wyatt Wientjes in the first round in the 126-pound class. O’Connor lost that match by pin in 2:25. O’Connor lost his next match to Lyle Noel of Bennett County by 5-2 decision, ending his run in the tournament.
Riley Scott wrestled Domic Kluckman of the Deuel-Deubrook area in first round of the 132-pound class and defeated him by pin in just 26 seconds. Scott then won his next match over Konner Osborn of Winner by 5-2 decision to put him up against Karstyn Lhotak in the semifinals. Scott lost that match in sudden victory, but wrestled back to third place, beating Osborn again, this time by 5-0 decision.
In the 144-pound class Leighton Sander went up against Ladon Coyle of Faulkton in the first round and lost 8-0. Sander than won his next match by technical fall over Garretson’s Carsten Rozenboom to keep him in the tournament. Sander won the next match by 4-2 decision over Lead-Deadwood’s Miles Renner, but lost the next two matches, landing him with eighth place in the tournament.
Webster said Sander “works his tail off” and was proud to see him place in the tournament.
Kai Rusch wrestled Ryker Peterson of Philip in the first round at the 150- pound class. Peterson had a takedown in the first period to bring the score to 2-0 and got a reversal and back points in the second period to make the score 6-0 before getting a pin in 3:41. Rusch then lost the next match by 7-1 decision, ending his run.
Blaise Arp took on Jude Sargent of Winner in the first round at the 157-pound class. The two were at a stalemate in the first period with Arp getting the first point by escape in the second period. Going into the third, Arp was up 1-0, but Sargent ultimately won with an escape and a takedown to end the score at 3-1. Arp then lost his next match to Gage Baumgran of Webster to end his run in the tournament.
Ryder Bailey took on Tyson Eddy of Wessington Springs-Woonsocket-Wolsey in the first round of the 175-pound class and was quick with a takedown in the first 10 seconds. By the end of the first period Eddy got a point by escape and Bailey answered with another takedown to bring the score to 4-1. Bailey then won his next two matches by decision to put him in the championship match with Burk Blasius of Philip, a three-time state champion. Bailey lost the match by 17-5 major decision.
Parker Noem wrestled at 190 pounds and easily won his first match in just 55 seconds over Breyton Johnson of Kingsbury County. He then won his next two matches by considerable point margins, beating Redfield’s Camden Murray 8-1 and Isaiah Crownover of Bon Homme-Avon 6-0. In the championship match, he went up against Gannon Knebel of Wagner and defeated him 7-2.
“It feels cool,” said Noem, on being a state champion. “I felt good the whole time.”
He prepared mentally for the tournament by “getting in the right mindset to think that I’m the better wrestler than the opponent.”
“Parker just has to believe in himself,” agreed Webster, saying Noem is a  very technical wrestler, and has been working all summer, and actually most of his life, in pursuit of this goal.
At 285 pounds, Zayne Severyn earned fourth place in the tournament. He won his first match over Breckin Culbert of Parkston by pin in 3:04, and the second match by ultimate tiebreaker over Faulkton’s Parker Bode.
In the semifinal he lost to Canton’s Traun Cook by pin in 3:25. In that match, Webster said Severyn’s shoulder popped out of place, but he popped it back in and continued to wrestle through the end of the match, showing his mental strength. He then won his next match by pin to put him in the third place match with Isaac Nehlich of Tri-Valley. Severyn lost the match by 5-2 decision.
On the girls’ side, Addie Sander wrestled at 106 pounds and took on Spearfish’s Madelyn Schlup in the first round, winning with a takedown and a pin in 1:18. Sander then lost her next two matches, ending her run in the tournament.
Essah Syverson wrestled at 107 pounds  and lost by pin to Aberdeen Central’s Madyson Gillen in the first round and to Darla Barnes of Lemmon-McIntosh in the second, also by pin.
River Bailey wrestled at 126 pounds. She lost her first match to Bon Homme-Avon’s Hadlee Kracht by pin and the second to Madison’s Gracie Lobbins by pin.
At 185 pounds, Hite wrestled Tayla Schultz of Harrisburg in the first round and was quick with a takedown in the first five seconds. Hite didn’t waste much time with a pin either, winning the match in 54 seconds. In the quarterfinal, she wrestled Emalee Larson of Pierre T.F. Riggs and won by pin in 5:42. Hite then lost the next match to Brianna Johnson of Tea Area by pin in 30 seconds. Hite wrestled her way back to thrid place, beating Marlee Hetzel of Spearfish and Lillian Hamner of Brandon Valley, both by pin.
Webster said he expects the young girls team to begin popping up on the state podium in future years, and expects some state championships from Hite in the coming years.
Webster said he was “very overwhelmed” and “very proud of all of them” of the team’s hard work leading up to the end of the triumphant end to the season.

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