The SD High School State Wrestling Tournament is February 27-29 in Sioux Falls, and there are some unanswered questions looking to be answered at the tournament this week. Here are a few.
Burning questions heading into the state tournament
- If Nash Hutmacher stretches his pin streak to 73 pins, where does that place him in the all-time best conversation? His legend continues to grow, and this could be the icing on the cake.
- How will the return of the state dual tournament affect this tournament? Some teams have opted out, and some teams are all in. It promises to be exciting either way.
- Who will win the Class A title this year? Do the Schunke brothers propel Brandon Valley to the top? Does Rapid City Stevens have the depth to take the title, or will Pierre’s reign of dominance continue with a deep and quality group of grapplers?
- Will anyone challenge Canton in the team events? They've had a stranglehold on the top spot in Class B, but many think this year could be more challenging for the CHawks.
- Which feature match will take center stage? I would love to see the back and forth battle between Kadoun and Klinkhammer in the Class A 152-pound division, but there are a lot of possibilities.
The undefeated wrestlers
Here is a short description of each of the wrestlers shooting for an undefeated season.
Owen Hansen B-120 (Burke/Gregory)
He’s switched between 113 and 120 weight classes this year and has success in both. Owen is the cream of the crop in this class.
Bradyn Robbins B-132 (Redfield Area)
He finished 2nd in last year’s state championships in the 120-pound class. Since then, he’s been on fire. He’ll participate in the dual championships, as well as the 132-pound class championship. He could face Braden Sehr of Canton, who has no losses in the state. Bradyn gets the nod as the number one seed, but it will be a one of the best finals if Robbins and Sehr survive to the finals.
Kellyn March B-138 (Canton)
Kellyn March finally had some competition this year. After his record pin streak came to an end, he continued to win and finished out a 48-0 season.
Jackson Eklund B-145 (Burke/Gregory)
His last loss was in the finals last year in the 145-class to Caden Lamer. He should be the favorite this year. Watch out for Seth Peterson (Canton) and Mace Plucker (Parker), who may oppose Eklund for the finals.
Sam Kruger B-160 (Winner Area)
The defending state champ is tough to beat. Kruger has already beaten the number two seed Gage Burke this year. Burke will be hoping to survive and see the favorite in the finals.
Cody Donnelly B-195 (Philip Area)
Donnelly finished 5th at state last year in the 182 class. He has been pinning opponents left and right this year. He has the fewest matches of any of the unbeatens. He didn’t wrestle much in the early season because of injury but has been very strong over the last month. Tanner Even is opposite of Donnelly in the bracket but hasn’t beat Cody in either of their meetings.
KJ St. Pierre B-220 (Wagner)
St. Pierre is the favorite to sweep through the 220 class as he seeks to defend his title from last year.
Brenden Salfrank A-113 (Aberdeen Central)
Salfrank is hoping to put up back-to-back undefeated seasons for Aberdeen Central. Last year, he wrestled at 106, and he’s picked up right where he left off in the 113-weight class. He set the school record for technical falls at Central. Brenden’s toughest match was against Quintin Chavez of Scottsbluff, NE.
Lucas Anglin A-145 (Vermillion)
Lucas already has two state titles and is a heavy favorite to get his third. He’s been dominant in his 42-0 season. The future Jackrabbit wrestler could be one of the few three-time state champs after this state tournament.
Cooper Voorhees A-160 (RC Stevens)
The Stevens senior and Wyoming commit is trying to repeat as the state champ, this time in the 160-pound class (152 last year). Cooper went 43-0 on the season, including a major decision over the number two seed Colby Mennis (Madison).
Gus Miller A-285 (Brookings)
Gus has the fewest matches of any of the undefeated wrestlers. He went 12-0 on an injury shortened season. As a junior, Gus won the 220-pound class in sudden victory over Carter Max of Mitchell.
Nash Hutmacher A-285 (Chamberlain)
Is he the best wrestler in South Dakota high school history? Many think so. He has continued to add to his record pin streak of 69 straight. When all is said and done, he is right near the top of all-time greats. He could be a four-time state heavyweight champion.
State Champion Predictions
106 – Trason Oehme, Brandon Valley
113 – Brenden Salfrank, Aberdeen Central
120 – Alexander Mentzer, SF Lincoln
126 – Darien Malone, RC Stevens
132 – Ty Althoff, Watertown
138 – Declan Malone, RC Stevens
145 – Lucus Aglin, Vermillion
152 – Eli Kadoun, SF Roosvelt
160 – Cooper Voorhees, RC Stevens
170 – Wyatt Jungclaus, RC Central
182 – Damion Schunke, Brandon Valley
195 – Gavin Gulbrandson, Harrisburg
220 – Owen Warren, Yankton
285 – Nash Hutmacher, Chamberlain
Team Champs – Rapid City Stevens
Dual Champs – Brandon Valley
106 – Logan Graf, Custer
113 – Riley Whitley, Redfield Area
120 – Owen Hansen, Burke/Gregory
126 – Kaden Keiser, Winner
132 – Bradyn Robbins, Redfield
138 – Kellyn March, Canton
145 – Jackson Eklund, Burke/Gregory
152 – Trevor Peters, Winner
160 – Sam Kruger, Winner
170 – Shaeden Scheidt, Canton
182 – Josh Crownover, BHSA
195 – Cody Donnelly, Philip
220 – KJ St. Pierre, Wagner
285 – Achilles Willuweit, Winner
Team Champs – Canton
Dual Champs – Winner