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Titans qualify 13 for State Tournament- Austin Eimers, Sam Werdel capture Region 1A Championship titles

The Tea Area High School wrestling team had a strong performance at the Region 1A Tournament held Saturday, Feb. 17 with ten Titan boys punching their tickets to the 2024 State A Tournament. Three Titan girls have also secured their spot at State making it 13 Titan athletes representing Tea Area at the State Tournament. 

“It was a great all-around team effort. Our kids battled their absolute hearts out and we’re blessed to have 10 boys, along with our 3 girls, in the state tournament,” said Titan head coach John Niesen. “Every one of our kids represented well and showed a ton of grit and determination.”

At Regions, Austin Eimers and Sam Werdel both claimed the Region Championship titles in their respective weight classes, Eimers at 144 and Werdel at 175. 

Eimers took on Watertown’s Cooper Kettwig in the quarterfinal round and pinned him in 1:34. In the semifinal, Eimers won by fall in 5:02 over Brookings’ Mason Mathis to advance to the Championship round. In the first place match, Eimers won by decision, 4-0, over O’Gorman’s Holden Hight. Eimers, a senior, brings a 20-2 record into the State Tournament. He will face off against Pierre’s Max Hunsley who sits at 15-19 on the year in the opening round on Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center. Wrestling is set to begin at 10 a.m. 

Werdel began Regions with a pin over Brookings’ Zach Hagemann in 1:00, this advanced him to the quarterfinals where he pinned Dell Rapids’ Quinn Carr in 1:00 to advance to the Championship round. In the first place match, Werdel won by decision over Sioux Falls O’Gorman’s Keenan Sheridan, 7-6, to claim the Championship title. Werdel, a junior, brings a 37-3 record into the State Tournament. He is set to face off against Dakota Valley’s Noah Heede, 18-20, in the opening round on Thursday. 

Also making it to the Region Championship match was Chase DeBoer, wrestling at 215 pounds. DeBoer began his Region run with a win by technical fall, 16-1, over Sawyer Hegg of Madison. He then won by fall in 5:06 over Sioux Falls Jefferson’s Landon Duran to reach the first place match. DeBoer then lost by fall in 1:17 to Chet Carda of West Central who only has one loss on the season. DeBoer took second at Regions. 

DeBoer, a sophomore who brings a 30-9 record into State, will face off against Sioux Falls Washington’s Myles Yitagesu (26-18) in the opening round. 

Also reaching the Championship match at Regions was Tea Area’s Tyler Woodring. Woodring opened with a bye at 120 pounds before pinning Brookings’ Levi Quam to advance to the Championship match. In the first place match, Woodring lost by major decision, 14-6, to Watertown’s Gage Lohr who is undefeated this season. Woodring took second place. 

At State, Woodring, a sophomore, will bring his 38-3 record, and face off against Rapid City Christian’s Connor Salazar in the opening round. Salazar has a 13-31 record. 

The Titans’ Carson Lohr, wrestling at 157 pounds, also reached the Championship match at Regions. Lohr, who opened with a forfeit win in the quarterfinals, won by sudden victory, 3-1, over Sioux Falls Jefferson’s Austin Osborn in the semifinals. In the Championship match, Lohr lost fall in 1:16 to West Central’s Chandler Carda, giving Lohr second place. 

At State, Lohr, a senior, brings a 23-11 record and will face off against Chamberlain’s Bryce Reuer in the opening round. Reuer has a 33-10 record. 

At 165 pounds, Tea Area’s Dawson Eimers also reached the Championship match at Regions. Eimers opened with a bye before winning by forfeit in the quarterfinal. In the semifinal, Eimers pinned Flandreau’s Justin Klein in 3:34 before losing to Brookings’ Gabriel Stern by decision, 8-3, in the Championship match. Eimers took second place. 

Eimers, a junior, brings a 22-6 record into State. He will face off against Mitchell’s Kaiden Allen, 11-17, in the opening round. 

Capturing third place honors at Regions for the Titans were Parker Wilson at 138 pounds, Jackson Tschetter at 150 pounds and Gavin Van Emmerick at 285 pounds. 

At 138, Wilson pinned Sioux Falls Jefferson’s Brady Kuhnert in 5:29 to advance to the semifinals. In the semifinals, Wilson lost by decision, 5-0, sending into the consolation semi-finals where he won by fall in 4:41 over O’Gorman’s Nicholas Giese. In the third/fourth place match, Wilson by decision, 4-2, over Leo Stroup of Watertown. 

Wilson, a junior, will take on Hayden McGuire of Brandon Valley in the opening round at State. Wilson brings a 30-18 record and McGuire a 36-17 

Tschetter, wresting at 150, opened with a bye before winning by technical fall over Madison’s Brayden Gust. In the semifinals, Tschetter lost by fall in 4:14 to Jefferson’s Ayden Dooley. In the consolation semifinals, Tschetter won by fall in 49 seconds over Brookings’ Blake Kannegieter and in the third/fourth place match, Tschetter won by decision, 5-4, over Sterne Pankratz of O’Gorman.

Tschetter, a senior, will face off against Lincoln’s Dawson Wallen in the opening round at State. Tschetter has a 30-13 record and Wallen, also a senior, a 37-9 record. 

Wrestling at 285, Van Emmerick pinned Dell Rapids’ Charlie Becker in the opening round in 5:28. He then lost by decision, 5-3, in the semifinal to West Central’s Gavin Pischke. In the consolation semifinals, Van Emmerick won by decision, 9-2, over Madison’s Ashten Dorhout. In the third/fourth place match, Van Emmerick won in sudden victory over O’Gorman’s Daniel Vazquez. 

Van Emmerik, a junior with a 31-20 record, will face off against Pierre’s Lucas Colman who brings a 6-6 record in the opening round at State. 

Also qualifying for State for the Titans was Slater Wilson who took fourth at Regions, wrestling at 113 pounds. Wilson lost in the quarterfinal round to West Central’ Bentley Klinkhammer but won in the consolation round, pinning Madison’s Carter Downs in 3:58. He then won by decision, 5-2, over O’Gorman’s Keanu Lee before losing by decision, 20-15, in the third/fourth place match to Brookings’ Jacob Milliron. Wilson, an eighth grader, brings a 19-11 record into State. He will face off against Brandon Valley’s Brendon Oehme (34-8) in the opening round. 

Competing at State for the Titan girls will be Emery Voelker at 100 pounds, Lainey Haines at 120 pounds and Brianna Johnson at 185 pounds. 

Voelker enters State with a 13-11 record and will face off against Watertown’s Olivia Anderson in the opening round. Anderson stands at 43-1 on the season. Haines entered with a 20-15 record and will face off against Lakota Tech’s Lakota Rodgers who has a 26-9 record. Johnson enters State with a 22-6 record and will face off against Lakota Tech’s Eriah Big Crow (19-15) in the opening round at State. 

Weigh-ins for the State Tournament begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22 with first round matches slated to begin at 10 a.m. Quarterfinal matches will begin on Thursday at 4 p.m. 

On Friday, Feb. 23 first round consolation and second round consolation begins at 9:30 a.m. Semifinals and third round consolation matches begin at 3 p.m. with fourth round consolation matches to follow. 

On Saturday, Feb. 24 place matches begin at 10 a.m. with Championship matches to begin at 1 p.m. Girls will wrestle first in each round followed by the boys. 

“The kids are in a pretty good headspace right now and we’re looking to bring home a top-5 finish at the state tournament this year,” said Niesen.

At Regions, the Titans finished second as a team with 217 team points. West Central took the team title.  

Tea Area saw three more individuals place at Regions but just fell short of qualifying for State. Henry Fortin took sixth at 106 pounds, Trevin Audi’s fifth at 126 pounds, and Keegan DeYoung fifth at 190 pounds. 

Complete results for the other Tea Area wrestlers at Regions are as follows: 

106—Henry Fortin (17-23) placed 6th; Quarterfinal - Chase Mathews (Watertown) 29-15 won by major decision over Henry Fortin (Tea Area) 17-23 (MD 8-0); Cons. Round 1 - Henry Fortin (Tea Area) 17-23 won by forfeit over Forfeit Forfeit (Flandreau) 12-23 (For.); Cons. Semi - Alex Zwak (Madison) 25-14 won by decision over Henry Fortin (Tea Area) 17-23 (Dec 3-0); 5th Place Match - Easton Scheidt (O`Gorman) 22-21 won by fall over Henry Fortin (Tea Area) 17-23 (Fall 2:07)

126—Trevin Audiss (23-21) placed 5th; Champ. Round 1 - Trevin Audiss (Tea Area) 23-21 won by fall over Zach Grochow (Dell Rapids) 9-19 (Fall 1:58); Quarterfinal - Jade Wilkens (Madison) 27-17 won by fall over Trevin Audiss (Tea Area) 23-21 (Fall 1:36); Cons. Round 2 - Trevin Audiss (Tea Area) 23-21 won by fall over Simon Lewis (O`Gorman) 5-13 (Fall 3:30); Cons. Round 3 - Trevin Audiss (Tea Area) 23-21 won by fall over Colton Kline (Sioux Falls Roosevelt) 6-26 (Fall 0:43); Cons. Semi - Karson Vessells (West Central) 38-10 won by fall over Trevin Audiss (Tea Area) 23-21 (Fall 2:15); 5th Place Match - Trevin Audiss (Tea Area) 23-21 won by fall over Gabriel Frias (Flandreau) 15-27 (Fall 3:54)

132—Dalton Cooper (3-13); Quarterfinal - Nolan Miles (Brookings) 29-2 won by fall over Dalton Cooper (Tea Area) 3-13 (Fall 1:25); Cons. Round 1 - Henry Meyer (Madison) 16-20 won by fall over Dalton Cooper (Tea Area) 3-13 (Fall 2:19)

190—Keegan DeYoung (18-19) placed 5th; Quarterfinal - Gabe Gebhard (West Central) 29-14 won by fall over Keegan DeYoung (Tea Area) 18-19 (Fall 2:52); Cons. Round 1 - Keegan DeYoung (Tea Area) 18-19 won by fall over Seth Arntzen (Madison) 12-23 (Fall 0:17); Cons. Semi - Karter Headrick (Flandreau) 40-11 won by fall over Keegan DeYoung (Tea Area) 18-19 (Fall 4:03); 5th Place Match - Keegan DeYoung (Tea Area) 18-19 won by medical forfeit over Aidan Kanable (O`Gorman) 22-10 (M. For.)





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