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State Champions -Werdel becomes 2x State Champion Johnson becomes Tea Area’s first ever girls’ Champion

On Feb. 22, 23, and 24 the top wrestlers in the State from Class A and B flocked to the Denny Sanford Premier Center to participate in the 2024 State Tournament. 

Tea Area High School brought 13 wrestlers to compete, 10 boys competing in Class A and three girls competing in the all class girls’ brackets. 

The Titans saw success with eight of the ten boys wrestlers reaching the podium and two of the three girls wrestlers also getting on the podium. 

As a team, the Titans took home sixth place honors with two individuals — Sam Werdel and Brianna Johnson — claiming the State Championship titles in their respective weight classes. 

Werdel became a two-time State Champion after pinning top ranked Keenan Sheridan from Sioux Falls O’Gorman In the Championship match at 175 pounds in just 1:24. The pin brought the crowd at the Denny to their feet. Sheridan had just two losses on the year. 

“Sam is quiet, but a steadfast, remarkable leader,” said Titan head coach John Niesen. “He’s a young man of integrity and doesn’t back down from challenges.”

Werdel began his State Championship run by pinning Dakota Valley’s Noah Hyde in 1:21 in the opening round. He then pinned Milbank’s Tate Schlueter in 3:06 in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals where he won by decision, 7-2, over Pierre’s Trey Lewis, setting up the Championship match against Sheridan. 

Johnson made history by claiming the first ever girls’ State Championship title in school history. Johnson won by decision, 6-4, over Watertown’s Allison Konrad at 185 pounds to win the State title. Konrad only had three losses on the season. 

“Brianna displayed a tremendous amount of courage by starting our girls’ program singlehandedly a couple years ago,” said Niesen. “She’s not afraid to get in and mix it up with the boys.”

Johnson began her State Championship run by pinning Lakota Tech’s Eriah Big Crow in 25 seconds. In the quarterfinals, Johnson pinned Canton’s Kori Wallner in 1:23. In the semifinals’ Johnson pinned Custer’s Jessica Hite in 30 seconds, setting up the Championship match against Konrad. 

“Both Bri and Sam defeated opponents who had previously beaten them in the finals,” said Niesen. “These kids are constantly looking to improve and work hard in the room, regardless of partner availability. They don’t complain, show up every day, and leave it all on the mat.”

Because of their strong performances at State, both Werdel and Johnson were named Titan Athletes of the Week. 

Just missing the Championship match was Tea Area’s Tyler Woodring who captured third place honors at State at 120 pounds. Woodring began his State run with a pin over Rapid City Central’s Connor Salazar. In the quarterfinals, Woodring won by decision, 9-7, over Sturgis Brown’s Benjamin Nadig to advance to the semifinals. There Woodring came up against a strong Brandon Valley opponent, Trevon Oehme, who won by decision, 9-5, sending Woodring into the consolation bracket. Woodring battled back, defeating Sioux Falls Lincoln’s Hudson Cisar by major decision, 16-6, to advance to the third/fourth place match. Here, Woodring had a rematch against Nadig this time recorded the pin in 2:46 to capture third place. 

Also reaching the third/fourth place match at State was the Titans’ Dawson Eimers. Eimers, wrestling at 165 pounds, began by pinning Mitchell’s Kaiden Allen in 2:37. In the quarterfinals, Eimers won by decision, 7-2, over Aberdeen Central’s Elias Biegler. In the semifinal, Eimers lost to Logan O’Connor of Harrisburg by fall in 1:18. O’Connor went on to take second, losing to Pierre’s Lucas Chamberlin the Championship match by sudden victory. In the consolation semifinals, Eimers won by decision, 3-0 over Sturgis Brown’s Preston Ray to reach the third/fourth place match. Here, Eimers lost by fall in 3:31 to West Central’s Race Whiting. 

Also reaching the podium for the Titan boys were Austin Eimers who earned sixth place at 144 pounds, Jackson Tschetter who took sixth place at 150 pounds, Carson Lohr who captured sixth at 157 pounds, Chase DeBoer who took sixth at 215 pounds, and Gavin Van Emmerick who claimed sixth at 285 pounds. Slater Wilson, competed at 113 pounds, along with Parker Wilson at 138 pounds, but the two failed to make the podium.

Complete results for those wrestlers are as follows: 

A113— Slater Wilson (19-13); Champ. Round 1 - Brendon Oehme (Brandon Valley) 38-8 won by fall over Slater Wilson (Tea Area) 19-13 (Fall 1:19); Cons. Round 1 - Bentley Klinkhammer (West Central) 23-11 won by decision over Slater Wilson (Tea Area) 19-13 (Dec 7-0)

A138— Parker Wilson (31-20); Champ. Round 1 - Hayden McGuire (Brandon Valley) 37-19 won by tech fall over Parker Wilson (Tea Area) 31-20 (TF-1.5 4:42 (17-1)); Cons. Round 1 - Parker Wilson (Tea Area) 31-20 won by decision over Xavier Donovan (Chamberlain) 17-14 (Dec 6-3); Cons. Round 2 - Zaniyan Iron Eyes (Lakota Tech) 26-11 won by major decision over Parker Wilson (Tea Area) 31-20 (MD 12-3)

A144—Austin Eimers (22-5) placed 6th; Champ. Round 1 - Austin Eimers (Tea Area) 22-5 won by fall over Max Hunsley (Pierre T.F. Riggs) 15-21 (Fall 3:03); Quarterfinal - Austin Eimers (Tea Area) 22-5 won by fall over John Mortrude (Dell Rapids) 38-12 (Fall 3:40); Semifinal - Holden Hawkins (Sisseton) 46-6 won by decision over Austin Eimers (Tea Area) 22-5 (Dec 4-3); Cons. Semi - Holden Hight (O`Gorman) 34-15 won by decision over Austin Eimers (Tea Area) 22-5 (Dec 2-1); 5th Place Match - Kalvin Ketelsen (Sturgis Brown) 41-10 won by decision over Austin Eimers (Tea Area) 22-5 (Dec 4-0)

A150—Jackson Tschetter (33-16) placed 6th; Champ. Round 1 - Jackson Tschetter (Tea Area) 33-16 won by decision over Dawson Wallen (Sioux Falls Lincoln) 40-11 (Dec 6-3); Quarterfinal - Moses Gross (Huron) 38-1 won by fall over Jackson Tschetter (Tea Area) 33-16 (Fall 1:19); Cons. Round 2 - Jackson Tschetter (Tea Area) 33-16 won by fall over Xavier McGuire (Brandon Valley) 20-30 (Fall 0:28); Cons. Round 3 - Jackson Tschetter (Tea Area) 33-16 won by decision over Shayce Platt (Yankton) 27-16 (Dec 5-2); Cons. Semi - Ayden Dooley (Sioux Falls Jefferson) 28-5 won by decision over Jackson Tschetter (Tea Area) 33-16 (Dec 4-3); 5th Place Match - Jacoby Parker (Rapid City Central) 46-18 won by fall over Jackson Tschetter (Tea Area) 33-16 (Fall 2:10)

A215—Chase DeBoer (32-12) placed 6th; Champ. Round 1 - Chase DeBoer (Tea Area) 32-12 won by decision over Myles Yitagesu (Sioux Falls Washington) 27-20 (Dec 7-1); Quarterfinal - Chase DeBoer (Tea Area) 32-12 won in sudden victory - 1 over Ayden Gisi (Aberdeen Central) 33-15 (SV-1 6-4); Semifinal - Zak Juelfs (Sturgis Brown) 42-1 won by fall over Chase DeBoer (Tea Area) 32-12 (Fall 1:34); Cons. Semi - Rollie French (Vermillion) 34-7 won by fall over Chase DeBoer (Tea Area) 32-12 (Fall 2:28); 5th Place Match - Ayden Gisi (Aberdeen Central) 33-15 won by fall over Chase DeBoer (Tea Area) 32-12 (Fall 1:20)

A285—Gavin Van Emmerik (35-13) placed 6th; Champ. Round 1 - Gavin Van Emmerik (Tea Area) 35-13 won by decision over Lucas Colman (Pierre T.F. Riggs) 7-8 (Dec 7-0); Quarterfinal - Rocky Clark (Mitchell) 36-14 won by decision over Gavin Van Emmerik (Tea Area) 35-13 (Dec 5-1); Cons. Round 2 - Gavin Van Emmerik (Tea Area) 35-13 won by decision over Lucas Giersberg (Douglas/Rapid City Christian/New Underwood) 39-16 (Dec 6-2); Cons. Round 3 - Gavin Van Emmerik (Tea Area) 35-13 won by fall over Edly Amaro (Yankton) 26-19 (Fall 4:02); Cons. Semi - Gavin Pischke (West Central) 44-8 won by decision over Gavin Van Emmerik (Tea Area) 35-13 (Dec 5-1); 5th Place Match - Bryce Beitelspacher (Aberdeen Central) 18-8 won by fall over Gavin Van Emmerik (Tea Area) 35-13 (Fall 0:19)

A157—Carson Lohr (26-14) placed 6th; Champ. Round 1 - Carson Lohr (Tea Area) 26-14 won by decision over Bryce Reuer (Chamberlain) 34-12 (Dec 7-2); Quarterfinal - Mason Schrempp (Aberdeen Central) 26-5 won by fall over Carson Lohr (Tea Area) 26-14 (Fall 5:58); Cons. Round 2 - Carson Lohr (Tea Area) 26-14 won by decision over Robert Watkins (Beresford/Alcester-Hudson) 32-18 (Dec 6-3); Cons. Round 3 - Carson Lohr (Tea Area) 26-14 won by decision over Jaxon Ducheneaux (Pierre T.F. Riggs) 35-9 (Dec 10-5); Cons. Semi - Michael Roob (Vermillion) 36-8 won by major decision over Carson Lohr (Tea Area) 26-14 (MD 12-3); 5th Place Match - Zhoel Irion (Sturgis Brown) 36-11 won by major decision over Carson Lohr (Tea Area) 26-14 (MD 11-3)

For the Titan girls, Lainey Haines earned a place on the podium taking eight place and Emery Voelker also competed but did not reach the podium. Their results are as follows: 

G100—Emery Voelker (13-13); Champ. Round 1 - Olivia Anderson (Watertown) 46-2 won by fall over Emery Voelker (Tea Area) 13-13 (Fall 3:44); Cons. Round 1 - Kyliegh Schuller (West Central) 18-10 won by fall over Emery Voelker (Tea Area) 13-13 (Fall 4:29)

G120—Lainey Haines (22-18) placed 8th; Champ. Round 1 - Lakota Rodgers (Lakota Tech) 27-11 won by fall over Lainey Haines (Tea Area) 22-18 (Fall 3:38); Cons. Round 1 - Lainey Haines (Tea Area) 22-18 won by fall over Vi Anderson (Sisseton) 17-12 (Fall 4:31); Cons. Round 2 - Lainey Haines (Tea Area) 22-18 won by fall over Ula Martin (Aberdeen Central) 21-21 (Fall 1:28); Cons. Round 3 - Kanyn Padden (Harding County) 30-17 won in sudden victory - 1 over Lainey Haines (Tea Area) 22-18 (SV-1 13-11); 7th Place Match - Jayrn Warejcka (Canton) 25-10 won by tech fall over Lainey Haines (Tea Area) 22-18 (TF-1.5 3:17 (15-0))







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