’Cats clinch conference title

Ron Burtz

The Wildcat wrestlers continued their winning ways by taking first place in the Black Hills Conference Tournament on Saturday at Douglas High School. Six Custer wrestlers snagged first place medals and the team scored 182 to points to edge out Class A Spearfish (181.5) for the championship of the nine team tourney.
Head coach Jared Webster said for having several wrestlers out sick “and not being able to wrestle full varsity this weekend, I think we did pretty dang well. A lot of those JV kids stepped up and filled the spots so I’m very proud of them.”
Freshman Tray Weiss scored 21 team points on his way to winning the 113- pound championship. Receiving a bye in the quarterfinal round, Weiss went on to pin Spearfish’s Dago Rodriguez in two minutes flat in the semifinals and won a 14-1 major decision over Ian Fleming of Douglas for the championship. Weiss has a 14-1 win/loss record this season and was named by Dakota Grappler as the Week Six Wrestler of the Week after jumping back into the state B rankings at sixth in the state in his weight class.
Also bringing home first place hardware was Riley Scott, who won the 106-pound weight class and scored 22 points for his team. Scott (20-2) pinned his opponent in the semifinal round in 41 seconds and went on to win the championship round by pinning Tanner Millard of Lead-Deadwood in 1:53.
First place honors also went to Landon Woodward who scored 23 points. He won a 19-5 major decision over Mason Schmitz of Spearfish to take first at 126 pounds.
Parker Noem won the 170-pound championship by pinning Spearfish’s Mason Schlup in a minute 25 seconds. The sophomore is now 14-2 on the season.
Senior Sterling Sword scored 20 team points on his way to winning the 182- pound title. He pinned Markus Medina of Spearfish in 1:41 in the match for first place.
Heavyweight Zayne Severyn was the sixth Wildcat champ. The sophomore scored 22 team points and won first place by fall over Asher Peil of Spearfish in 5:22.
Braden Weiss placed second at 138 pounds and scored 16 team points. The senior has a 13-5 season record.
Third place in the 195- pound weight class went to Weston Woodward, who scored 10 team points. He won by injury default over Dylan Meade of Lead-Deadwood in the match for third.
A trio of Wildcat wrestlers brought home fourth place medals. That group included Ethan OConnor at 120 pounds, Pierce Sword (132) and Connor Adams (145). They scored eight, seven and seven team points, respectively.
At the Philip Duals the day before, Custer came away with two victories but lost to a notoriously tough Redfield Area team.
Webster had predicted a rough go against Redfield, calling it “one of the toughest dual teams in the state,” and that proved to be the case. Redfield won the dual by a score of 52-24.
The coach said he thought his wrestlers were taking a beating but looked up at the scoreboard at one point and was surprised to see how close the score actually was.
“We didn’t have our full lineup and if we’d have had our full lineup I think things would have been a lot different,” said Webster. “The kids that were there stepped up and wrestled well.”
Four Custer wrestlers pulled out victories in the dual. Tray Weiss won by fall and Ethan O’Connor (120) and Landon Woodward both beat their opponents by decision. Scott won by default.
Custer had a much easier time with its other two duals, beating Wagner 40-29 and McCook Central-Montrose 45-27.
Scorers for the Wildcats in the Wagner dual included Tyrin Scott (152), Noem, Weston Woodward, Riley Scott, O’Connor, Landon Woodward and Braden Weiss. In the McCook Central-Montrose matchup, Wildcat scorers were Riley Scott, Tray Weiss, Landon Woodward, Joel Tramp (forfeit at 138), Lane Geisner (forfeit at 160), Noem (forfeit at 170), Weston Woodward, and Severyn, who pinned his man in two minutes flat.
While Custer moved down one notch to eighth place in the State B ratings, the team added two wrestlers to the Dakota Grappler statewide leader board. In addition to Tray Weiss at 113, Custer wrestlers on the list included Riley Scott (sixth at 106), Braden Weiss (10th at 138), Ryder Bailey (ninth at 152), Jonathan Lewis (second at 160), Noem (11th at 170), Sterling Sword (10th at 182), Weston Woodward (12th at 195) and Severyn, who is in 11th place at 220 pounds. In terms of seed points, Custer is sitting in eighth place statewide with 43.29.
On Saturday the Custer wrestlers head east one more time for the one-day Winner Invite, which Webster says will “be another tough one.” He said the competition will be similar to what they saw at the recent Mid-Dakota Monster in Presho with “a lot of the top kids in the state” they don’t often see until the state tournament.
He said he hopes to have everybody off sick call and back on the mats but with the all-important end of the season finals coming soon he plans to take it one day at a time to keep them healthy for that.

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