Booster Club tourney this Saturday
After a successful 2011-2012 campaign, the Flandreau Flier wrestling team is preparing to return to the state meet with many of the same faces.
The Fliers sent seven wrestlers to the state meet last year at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City. Flandreau wrestled their way to a sixth place team finish, led mostly by underclassman but there were two seniors that did more than their part.
Senior, Jared Sutton, who wrestled in the 120-pound division, entered the State tournament with a 36-10 record. Sutton was unable to get by his first round opponent, Dylan Konechne from Kimball/White Lake/ Platte Geddes, who went on to take the third place medal at the tournament.
Fellow senior, Cody Reed entered the State tournament with an impressive 40-2 record. The 126-pound wrestler ran through his first opponent before losing to the eventual champion, Ben Gillette from Redfield/Doland. Reed was able to rebound and win his final four matches to take the third place medal over Casey Heninger of Stanley County.
Travis Ahrens, who will be starting his sixth year as the head coach of the Fliers knows that senior leadership is hard to replace.
“All three of our seniors, Jared [Sutton], Cody [Reed] and Nolan Mingledorff will be missed from last year because all three were great kids and each brought something of value to our program. Not only because of the points they scored for us throughout the year but their contributions in the practice room as well.”
But on the bright side, the 2012-13 Flier wrestling team will be returning five state qualifiers, including a state champion.
Returning for his senior season, Dakota Petersen is coming off his best tournament of the year at last years state meet. Petersen, who finished fourth in the region meet to qualify, also took home the fourth place medal at the state meet.
“He really utilized his confidence in his talents and abilities and we will look for him to continue that level of wrestling this year,” Ahrens said about the senior.
Kyle Scofield will also be looked on to make an impact as a senior. Scofield improved on his eighth place finish at the state tournament as a sophomore with a sixth place finish last year. He has been a vital part of the wrestling program at FHS for many years.
“He has been a top performer for us since he was in seventh grade and we will look for him to continue that this year,” Ahrens said about his seasoned senior.
There is a third member of this year’s senior class that has state tournament experience. Tate Lacey won four matches during last years state meet including a win in the fifth place match over Brian Vermeulen of Plankington/Mt. Vernon Corisca. Lacey will be looking for his third straight state meet appearance in 2012.
“The goal for each one of those three will be a state championship at the end of the year. Our expectations will be working towards that goal. Each one of them has the ability,” Ahrens said about the three seniors.
“Setting the goals is one thing but you have to focus on the things you need to reach that goal. Jace Christiansen is a prime example of that process last year. He went from getting stuck by Tri-Valley’s Austin Oyen in the first match of the year to beating him for the state title.”
Christiansen will be looking to defend his championship in 2012. Christiansen has posted an 84-11 record over his last two seasons and has gone 7-2 in the state meet over that time.
Joining Christiansen as the only other junior that made the state meet in 2011 is Jake Scofield. Scofield finished last year 33-16 and collected a fifth place finish at the state meet.
Both of these juniors expect to be favorites in their respective weight classes in 2012 and between those two and the three seniors above, Ahrens expects nothing but greatness.
“If we focus on the things we need to, everyone of these five have what it takes to have great years.”
The Fliers have a couple new tricks up their sleeves for 2013. There are three wrestlers that Ahrens is high on and believes all three will make an impact late in the season.
“Dylan Rice will be a year older and stronger at the 106. Casey Johnson at the right weight can contribute a lot of points for us. Carter Ziebarth can also be a force for us in the upper weights. I think all three have the ability to wrestle at the state tournament and wrestling on the second day for us.”
The Fliers do not have an easy road the state meet either. First they have to get through their conference. A conference that has Howard, Garretson and McCook Central/ Montrose who finished eighth, 14th and 20th respectively at the state meet last year. After they battle through their conference, they have to deal with Canton, Tri-Valley and Beresford in their region. Canton finished first at the state meet last year, Tri-Valley took home second and Beresford finished in ninth.
The Fliers will be up for the task and it all starts at home with the Flandreau Booster Club Tournament on the first of December. The Fliers will still be trying to work the kinks out during the match but as Ahrens knows, the other teams are in the same boat.
“We, like a lot of teams, will be knocking the rust off some of our returning wrestlers, breaking in some rookies, working on conditioning and getting guys settled in their weight classes. Our best wrestling we hope will be at the end of the year.”
The Fliers first three matches will be at home. After the Booster club tournament, the Fliers will be hosting the Flandreau Triangular on the 6th of December and the Flandreau Quad on the 11th.