Two-time defending champion Pierre is in position to defend its Class A crown entering this year’s state wrestling tournament.
The Governors, who claimed their fourth title in the last five years in demonstrative fashion last year, qualified wrestlers in all but one weight class, including returning state champions Lincoln Turman (113), William Turman (120) and Michael Lusk (132).
Lincoln Turman, a junior, arrives with the best record of the three at 42-1, but senior Spencer Sarringar (195) is 38-1 on the year and looking to improve upon his runner-up finish last year in Rapid City.
Though dethroning Pierre would represent a fairly significant upset, a quartet of teams are in position to potentially take a run at the Govs.
#SDWRESTLING17: Brackets for Classes A & B
In search of its first team title since 2010, Sturgis arrives at this year’s event with wrestlers in 13 of 14 classes.
Jacob Wood (39-3), who finished runner-up as a freshman last year, is back at 106 for his sophomore finale. Teammate Bailey Brengle (36-8), a fourth-place finisher in 2016, appears positioned for a finals clash with Pierre’s Aric Williams (40-4) at 145.
Headlined by the Nelson twins, Aberdeen Central could make some noise with nine other seeded grapplers.
Braiden (41-1) looks to defend his title at 182, while Bradley (43-4) returns to 170 where he finished runner-up a year ago.
Rapid City Stevens and Rapid City Central will be well-represented at this year’s meet as well with 12 and 11 wrestlers making the trip, respectively.
Both programs finished in the top 10 at last year’s event and both return a pair of third-place finishers. Stevens brings Cody BeVier (120) and Spencer Stockman (126), while Central has Riley McSherry (145) and Zach Solano (170).
AREA SCHOOLS WELL REPRESENTED IN A
Among the Sioux Falls city schools, Roosevelt had the most state qualifiers with nine, led by returning champ Carter Lohr. The junior will put his 27-0 record on the line at 152.
Kobe Kortan enters his senior year looking to take home gold at 160 after finishing third at 132 in 2016. Kortan’s opening round opponent will be Washington’s Tupak Kpeayeh (160), who is one of five Warriors who qualified for the event.
Four grapplers from O’Gorman and three from Lincoln will also be competing for state titles.
Harrisburg and Brandon Valley will also be well represented, sending 13 and nine wrestlers, respectively.
BERESFORD/ALCESTER-HUDSON FAVORITE IN B
With four of its 10 qualified wrestlers ranked No. 1 in his respective weight class, Beresford/Alcester-Hudson appears to be the team to beat in Class B. BAH, which arrives as the top-ranked team with 148.5 points, boasts the No. 1 grappler at 106 (Kellyn March), 145 (Dakota Galt), 182 (Nick Casperson) and 285 (Trent Rus).
Casperson, owns a 43-0 record, while March is 46-1.
Last year’s Class B champ, No. 3 Canton (103 points), has 10 wrestlers competing for titles, including Dylan Hanisch (126), who finished third at 120 last year. The C-Hawks’ lone returning state champion, Stas Sutera, transferred and is now with Bon Homme/Scotland. He’s the top-ranked wrestler at 132.
No. 2 Philip qualified nine wrestlers for this year’s state tournament. Leading the way is Nick Donnelly (152). Donnelly, who boasts a 43-1 mark, finished runner-up at the same weight last season.
Follow Brian Haenchen on Twitter at @Brian_Haenchen .