Wildcat wrestlers have six place at state

Ron Burtz

Two-thirds of Custer High School’s state wrestling team, dubbed the “Notorious Nine,” placed and all but one put points on the board at the Class State B Tournament in Sioux Falls last weekend to propel the Wildcats to a sixth place finish overall in the state finals. Canton wrestlers scored 155.5 points to win the state championship and were followed by Kimball-White Lake-Platte-Geddes, Winner Area, Redfield, Philip Area and Custer. The Wildcats’ score of 90 points was just five points less than West River rival Philip.
“We had an excellent season this year with a very solid group of kids and a strong lineup,” said head coach Jared Webster after the tourney. “Putting five in for third and fourth is pretty huge especially in a 64-team bracket between A and B.”
The highest placing Wildcat was 170-pound Parker Noem, who took third and scored 19 points for his team. The sophomore lost his first-round match to Levi Stover of Stanley County to go into the consolation bracket and went on to win his next four matches with three pins and an 8-1 decision. In the match for third he beat Lucas Kannegieter of Clark-Willow Lake in a 4-2 decision.
“He lost his first match and came all the way and won the rest of them,” noted Webster. “That’s a pretty tough thing to do.”  
Noem ends his sophomore season with a 41-9 win/loss record.
Four Custer wrestlers had fourth place finishes at state led by 106-pound freshman Tray Weiss, who went into the state tournament as the top seed in his weight class and was also the No. 1 wrestler at 106 in the final Dakota Grappler statewide rankings. Weiss won his first two rounds at state with a pin and a 12-4 major decision before losing to Wagner’s Karstyn Lhotak in a 4-2 decision in the semis. After winning an 11-3 major decision over Connor Giedd of Howard in the consolation semifinals, Weiss lost the third place match to Holden Hawkins of Sisseton in a 6-0 decision. Weiss finished the season with a  44-5 record.
“He was one point out from being in the finals in a tough match,” said Webster of Weiss.
The team’s youngest wrestler, eighth-grader Riley Scott, had an impressive first outing at the state finals. He placed fourth in the 113-pound weight class and scored 17 team points. He won four of his six matches at the tournament and made it into the consolation semifinals with a close 7-6 decision over Teagan Herrick of Miller-Highmore-Harrold. Scott has a bright high school future ahead of him as he finishes the season with 49 wins and 11 losses.
“He stepped up,” said Webster. “He was ready to wrestle once the whistle started and had some huge wins. I’m very proud of him.”
Junior Jonathan Lewis scored 14 points on the way to his fourth-place finish at 160 pounds. Lewis beat his first round opponent by fall in a mere 28 seconds and went on to win his quarterfinal match in a 4-3 decision. After losing in the semifinals, Lewis won a 7-0 decision over Lucas Lenz of Kimbal-White Lake-Platte-Geddes to make it to the third place match but lost to Winner’s top-seeded Riley Orel in a 3-1 decision. Lewis had a 36-5 record this season.
Landon Woodward ended his junior season with a fourth-place finish at state and scored 12 team points. The 126-pounder started out his state tourney performance with 7-5 and 6-1 decision wins but lost an 8-0 major decision to Canton’s Ayson Rice in the semis. In the consolation semi he won a 4-2 decision over a Tri-Valley wrestler but lost to Philip’s Jace Blasius in the match for third by a 3-2 decision. Woodward went to state last year as well and placed eighth. He ends his season with a 32-10 record.
Coming in seventh was 138-pound senior Braden Weiss, who scored seven points for his team. Weiss won three of his five matches at state and won by medical forfeit over Brady Bierema of Bon Homme-Scotland-Avon for his seventh place finish. Weiss ended his high school career with a 33-16 record.
The other three Custer wrestlers to make it to the state tourney were senior Sterling Sword, who scored three points at 182 pounds, sophomore heavyweight Zayne Severyn (160 pounds, two points) and senior Pierce Sword at 132 pounds.
Looking ahead to next season Webster said the team’s future looks bright.
“We lose three seniors but we get five of those kids back that were in for third and fourth,” said the coach, “and we’ve got a lot of talent that can fill the rest of the lineup.”

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