Competing in arguably the most difficult weight class at this year’s state meet, day one was expectedly difficult for Roosevelt senior Kobe Kortan.
Seeded third at 160, Kortan opened his day against Washington’s Tupak Kpeayeh. After defeating him by decision (3-2), Kortan advanced to face Harrisburg’s Nick Schirado, whom Kpeayeh had beaten at regions.
Schirado’s substantial height advantage presented its own unique set of challenges for Kortan, who won by a 4-3 decision to reach the semifinals.
“He is tall so it’s a lot harder to score him,” said Kortan, who was sporting some fresh scratches on his neck and two sore shoulders after day one. “But if you bring them down to your level, you can usually get them.”
#SDWRESTLING17: Day 1 results
Tomorrow presents an intriguing set of circumstances for Kortan.
Heading into the tournament, it appeared he would have to go through No. 2 Carter Kratz (Vermillion) in order to secure a spot in the championship match. However, Kratz was upset by Rapid City Stevens’ Blake Anderson in the quarterfinals.
So, instead of having to go through the No. 2 wrestler, Kortan will just have to go through the grappler who beat him.
“I like that we haven’t seen him this year,” Roosevelt coach Kyle Svendsen said. “We were 0-2 against Kratz, so it could potentially be a little better match-up for us at 160.”
Should he advance to the finals, a match with top-ranked Winston Brown (Sturgis) will likely be looming.
As Kortan’s dad, former Roosevelt coach Darrell Kortan put it: “The wrestling gods were not on his side.”
“We went to church that day and everything,” Darrell laughed. “I don’t know if I didn’t rub the lucky head or what happened here, but we didn’t get a lucky break on the draw.”
It’s a rather daunting road ahead for Kobe, but there are a couple of external factors working in the young man’s favor.
For starters, he’s competing in his own backyard.
“You can go home and shower, sleep in your own bed. It really helps,” he said.
There is also the mini-entourage Kobe has supporting him.
In addition to his mom and dad, Kobe’s older siblings were in town and at the Premier Center. There’s also his oldest sister’s fiancé, his newborn nephew, his grandfather and his grandmother, who, as luck would have it, was released from the hospital just a couple days ago.
“If prayer and support and cheer will help, the mojo’s all going,” Darrell laughed.
“Oh yeah, it’s nice,” Kobe beamed. “I got a big support team behind me.”
With it being Kobe’s final meet, it was important to Darrell to have everyone in attendance, especially his other children. It’s how things have always been with all of the siblings supporting one another in their athletic endeavors.
“It really has been the family’s last one, because we’ve really done so much of this as a family,” Darrell said. “This really is a full-circle conclusion for the whole group.”
“There’s a whole new stage of life coming. We recently became grandparents. Like me and my wife talk about, just embrace each stage and appreciate it. I really think I’m appreciating the end of this one.”
TRIO OF SIOUX FALLS GRAPPLERS REACH SEMIS
Roosevelt (6), Washington (3) and Lincoln (1) combined to advance 10 grapplers to the quarterfinal round.
From that group, three advanced to tomorrow’s semifinals.
From Lincoln, there’s senior heavyweight Corey Fichter. He scored 11 points on the day with wins by fall over Kyle Becker (West Central) and Marshal Simons (Huron).
Roosevelt accounted for the remaining Sioux Falls semifinalists, with Eli Kadoun moving through at 113 and Carter Lohr maintaining his unblemished record at 152.
For Kadoun, reaching the final will require him to upset top-ranked Lincoln Turman of Pierre. The sophomore is 44-1 on the year and beat Kadoun handily when they met during the regular season.
“I always have been told growing up that if you’re going up against someone and you’re the underdog, you have nothing to prove,” the freshman Rough Rider said. “I’m just going to go out there, scrap with him, have some fun.”
“Eli will have to put together a great match, but it’s not impossible,” Svendsen said. “He definitely likes to push himself, without a doubt. He’s the hardest worker in our room. This is just another challenge and he doesn’t back down from those.”
For Lohr, he was a bit disappointed by his performance against Reese Hansen (Spearfish) in the opening round (MD 9-1).
“That kid was strong,” explained Lohr, who hadn’t faced Hansen before. “I tried to get the fall on the first, but it didn’t work out.”
“I wasn’t thoroughly impressed with his first match, either,” Svendsen said. “But I certainly think we got things worked out and he was back to his usual self there in that second match.”
Lohr’s quarterfinal match against Sturgis’ Jaren Puhlman went a little better.
It took all of 44 seconds for Lohr to punch his ticket to the semifinal.
“When he wants to be done, he can be done,” Svendsen laughed.
CARTER KRATZ UPSET
The day’s biggest upset came in the year’s toughest weight class: Class A, 160 lbs.
Among the favorites entering the tournament, Vermillion’s Carter Kratz was defeated by Rapid City Central’s Blake Anderson in the quarterfinals.
“They were in a scramble in the first sudden victory overtime and he just ended up in a better positon than us,” Vermillion coach Joe Delvaux said. “We couldn’t put it back together.”
“Definitely unexpected,” Svendsen said of the upset. “We thought we’d be seeing him in the semis. 160’s just a super tough weight this year. It’s deep. I definitely did not expect to see Kratz get knocked out.”
Relegated to the left side of the bracket, Kratz was later ousted by a 5-4 decision by Mitchell’s Kyle Foote.
“My heart is broken for him,” Delvaux said.
PIERRE LEADS THE WAY IN A
Pierre sits atop the team standings entering Saturday with 84.5 points.
The Governors advanced seven wrestlers to the semifinals and have two more still competing in wrestlebacks.
Sturgis is in second place with 73 points. It will have four grapplers in semifinal matches tomorrow and four others on the left side of the bracket.
Rapid City Stevens is third with 72.0 points. Aberdeen Central (70.5) and Rapid City Central (68.5) round out the top five.
CANTON MAINTAINS SLIM LEAD OVER BERESFORD/ALCESTER-HUDSON
Class B is set up for a dramatic finish with Canton (69.0) holding a five-point lead over Beresford/Alcester-Hudson (64.0).
The C-Hawks have eight grapplers still competing, including five in semifinal matches.
Beresford/Alcester-Hudson has six wrestlers still in contention, five of whom are in the semifinals.
Follow Brian Haenchen on Twitter at @Brian_Haenchen .