10:31 PM PST, December 12, 2012
The Webster Bearcats will look to extend their wrestling dominance when the annual Northeast Conference Tournament takes place Saturday at the Webster Armory.
When the action starts at 11 a.m., the other NEC squads will likely be trying to chase down the Bearcats, who have only lost two regular-season tournaments in the past two seasons, both coming at the Lee Wolf Invitational.
“We don’t put a lot of emphasis on this, but obviously you want to be the best in the conference,” said Webster coach Wade Rausch.
Winning the NEC tourney has become nearly synonymous with postseason success in the past. For that reason alone, Webster would like to take home another title.
“In the Northeast Conference, if you’ve done well, you usually do pretty well in the postseason, there’s no doubt about that,” Rausch said.
While the Bearcats will be searching for another team title, many individual wrestlers will be looking to add to their NEC totals. One of those will be Aberdeen Roncalli’s Tyson Mitzel, who will be attempting to become the first Cavalier in school history to be a three-time conference champion. He is one of just three Roncalli wrestlers who have won back-to-back NEC titles.
While doing well at the conference meet is noteworthy, both Rausch and Aberdeen Roncalli coach Justin Briese said the NEC tourney is not the biggest meet on their schedules.
“It’s not really a big tournament for a lot of the guys,” Briese said. “They look more to the bigger picture at the end of the year.”
One of the reasons why the conference tournament has become just another event might be in where it falls on the schedule. Most teams are still trying to shift their lineups around with the season barely two weeks old.
“We’re going to adjust our weights this weekend,” Rausch said. “It’s one of those deals. We’re going to try to get down to the weights that we want to compete at for the postseason. We’ve been wrestling a little bit heavy.”
Briese said conditioning is another factor that the tourney is not as important as events later in the season.
“Being at the beginning of the year, kids aren’t in their best shape,” Briese said.
Because of a lack of numbers, Roncalli focuses more on individual accomplishments than on team placing.
“The last few years we haven’t been able to compete team-wise,” Briese said. “We go there and wrestle hard and do what we can.”
Webster, which won the State B championship two years ago, is gearing up for another strong postseason run and this weekend will provide another stepping stone on that path.
“The kids want to win the conference. I want to win the conference,” Rausch said, trying to put the event into perspective, “but it’s not a top priority on our list this year.”
Sports writer Dave Vilhauer
The Barnett Center on the campus of Northern State University will host basketball classics in late December. Dates, times and pairings are as follows:
December 27: Boys, Hitchcock-Tulare vs. Edmunds Central, 11 a.m.; Boys, McIntosh vs. Grant-Deuel, 12:30 p.m.; Girls, McIntosh vs. Rosholt, 2 p.m.; Girls, Groton vs. Newell, 3:30 p.m.; Boys, Newell vs. Sully Buttes, 5 p.m.; Boys, Potter County vs. Rosholt, 6:30 p.m.; Boys, Dupree vs. North Star, N.D., 8 p.m.
December 28: (All Girls’ Games) Edmunds Central vs. McIntosh, 2 p.m.; Eureka vs. Wilmot, 3:30 p.m.; Ipswich vs. South Border, N.D., 5 p.m.; Aberdeen Roncalli vs. Herreid-Selby Area, 6:30 p.m.
December 29: (All Boys’ Games) Eureka-Bowdle vs. Northwestern, 1 p.m.; Summit vs. Faulkton, 2:30 p.m.; Ipswich vs. LaMoure, N.D., 4 p.m.; Aberdeen Christian vs. Herreid-Selby Area, 5:30 p.m.; Little Wound vs. Langford Area, 7 p.m.
— Sports writer Shawn Werre
Warner-Summit renew girls’ rivalry
It might be early in the season, but that does not mean the intensity will be less when Warner hosts Summit in a non-conference girls’ basketball game on Saturday.
When tip-off takes place around 8 p.m. at the Warner Gym, expect the atmosphere to be electric.
“We try to not look ahead too much, but you can’t help but kind of peek forward and know where this one’s at,” said Warner coach Stew Bohle of the significance of the contest.
Summit is currently rated number one in Class B and Warner is tied for fifth in the most recent poll.
The two met in a pair of memorable matchups last season.
Warner snapped Summit’s 30-game home winning streak dating back to 2006 with a win during the regular season before Summit gained revenge by beating the Monarchs in the Region 1B championship.
While Warner does not have nearly as long of a home winning streak at stake, the Monarchs are still difficult to beat on their home floor where they have won 10 straight games.
“We like to think that we do have a home-court advantage here,” Bohle said. “It’s a tough place for people to come in to play. We hope to have this place packed full of people.”
Bohle said the stiff early-season test will be an opportunity for his team to gauge where it’s at and a chance to gain some recognition against the two-time defending State B champions.
Interestingly enough, the two schools have a bit of recent history in volleyball as well. Summit lost just two matches this past fall and both came against Warner, the eventual state champion.
“I think it absolutely has some bearing on basketball,” Bohle said of the impact of those volleyball matches. “I think you can use that to your advantage on both sides.”
Sports writer Dave Vilhauer
The Yellowstone Trail Conference has six schools this season: Eureka-Bowdle, Edmunds Central, Herreid-Selby Area, Potter County, Sully Buttes and Wakpala for girls’ and boys’ basketball.
While Wakpala is still a member of the YTC, the Sioux did not schedule Sully Buttes and Potter County this season. Potter County athletic director and football coach Vern Smith said that Wakpala wanted to schedule more Native American tournaments.
Wakpala and Sully Buttes will not play in the annual YTC tourneys. In the past, the girls’ and boys’ portions of the tourney were conducted during different weeks. With only four teams participating, that will change for this season, said Smith.
The girls’ first-round games will be played Jan. 24 at Gettysburg. The first round for the boys will take place Jan. 25 in Gettysburg. The two will join forces in Gettysburg on Jan. 26 with the two third-place games in the afternoon and the championship games at night.
Sports writer Deb Smith
Mike Miller Classic schedule
The third annual Mike Miller Classic will feature eight South Dakota teams along with squads from Florida to Nevada.
The boys’ basketball classic, which is scheduled for Dec. 27-29 at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, has the defending state champions Sioux Falls O’Gorman (Class AA) and White River (Class B) from South Dakota and DeLaSalle from Minnesota and ESPN Rise Elite 8 LaLumiere out of Indiana.
The tournament is organized by the city of Mitchell and Miller, a former Kernels player who is currently with the NBA champion Miami Heat.
The complete schedule follows.
Dec. 27: Our Savior New American (N.Y.) vs. The Rock (Fla.), 7 p.m.; Mitchell vs. Coronado (Nev.), 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 28: Sioux Falls Lincoln vs. Coronado (Nev.), 4 p.m.; DeLaSalle (Minn.) vs. Our Savior New American (N.Y.), 5:30 p.m.; Coronado (Nev.), second game of the day, vs. The Rock (Fla.), 7 p.m.; Watertown vs. LaLumiere (Ind.), 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 29: Sioux Falls Roosevelt vs. The Rock (Fla.), 2:30 p.m.; Mitchell vs. Sioux Falls O’Gorman, 4 p.m.; Sioux Falls Washington vs. LaLumiere (Ind.), 5:30 p.m.; White River vs. DeLaSalle (Minn.), 7 p.m.; Pierre vs. Our Savior New American (N.Y.), 8:30 p.m.
First-year coach gets first win
Last Saturday night will be one that Travis Santistevan will probably never forget.
The 22-year-old won his first game as a head coach when he guided the Britton-Hecla boys’ basketball team to a win over Mobridge-Pollock.
“It’s quite relieving,” Santistevan said. “I get pretty worked up and nervous for games.”
Santistevan is from Lusk, Wyo., and just moved to South Dakota this past year. Interestingly enough, Santistevan found out about the Marshall County community because his former high school band instructor used to teach at Britton.
When Santistevan graduated from college, he found out there was a job opening at Britton-Hecla, so he applied and landed an industrial technology position that just so happens to be a nine-hour drive away from his home.
“I like it,” Santistevan said of northeast South Dakota. “I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like.”
Santistevan said he envisioned some day becoming a head coach, “But I never thought at 22.”
At his age, Santistevan is only slightly older than most of his players.
“It’s weird and a little different, I know that,” he said.
Santistevan said his assistants, Bill Meyer and Brian Rabenberg, both former Britton standouts, have helped to make the transition easier.
The Braves will be back in action tonight when they host Sisseton.
Santistevan knows the pressure to get that initial coaching victory is now gone, but he also knows that the expectation to win more games is still there.
“The pressure keeps going on,” he said, “but the first one was nice to get out of the way.”
Sports writer Dave Vilhauer
Here are the pairings and times for the Swiftel Classic in Brookings. The event features 16 basketball games over two days, with eight boys’ games the first day and eight girls’ games the following day. The schedules are as follows:
Dec. 27: (Boys’ Games) Wilmot vs. Canby, Minn., 10:30 a.m.; Florence-Henry vs. Lincoln HI (Ivanhoe, Minn.), noon; Lake Preston vs. Waverly-South Shore, 1:30 p.m.; Deuel vs. Oelrichs, 3 p.m.; Gregory vs. Pipestone, Minn., 4:30 p.m.; Estelline vs. Gayville-Volin, 6 p.m.; Hamlin vs. Oldham-Ramona-Rutland, 7:30 p.m.; Summit vs. Elkton-Lake Benton, 9 p.m.
Dec. 28: (Girls’ Games) Florence-Henry vs. Oldham-Ramona-Rutland, 10:30 a.m.; Hamlin vs. Wolsey-Wessington, noon; Lake Preston vs. Waverly-South Shore, 1:30 p.m.; Arlington vs. Gayville-Volin, 3 p.m.; Deuel vs. Bridgewater-Emery, 4:30 p.m.; Estelline vs. Sioux Valley, 6 p.m.; Summit vs. Canistota, 7:30 p.m.; James Valley Christian vs. Pipestone, Minn., 9 p.m.
The South Dakota Cross Country and Track and Field Coaches Association has announced its year-end cross country winners.
The girls’ All-American selections are Savannah Woods and Annie Kruse of Yankton. The boys’ All-Americans are Addison DeHaven of Brookings and Nathan Schroeder of Sioux Falls Lincoln.
The girls’ All-American Honorable Mention picks are Hannah Kastigar of Aberdeen Central, and Kelsi Kearney of Sioux Falls Washington, while the boys’ Honorable Mention choices are Duane Jongeling of Parker, and Kyle Burdick of Rapid City Stevens.
James Benning of Estelline was selected as Circle of Champions Coach of the Year.
Area Coaches of the Year are as follows:
Area 1, Todd Thorson of Ipswich; Area 2, James Benning of Estelline; Area 3, Kris Boekelheide of Northwestern; Area 4, Robert Cordts of Madison and Mike Schultz of Sioux Falls Washington; Area 5, Janet Wagner of Bon Homme; Area 6, Larry Buffington of Gayville-Volin; Area 7, Joel Milton of Lyman; Area 8, Jessica Larson of Gettysburg; and Area 9, Thad Caldwell of Rapid City Central.
ESD on Twitter
A new account on Twitter features the Eastern South Dakota Conference. ESD Weekly has scores and highlights from the conference. It will also offer insights and polls.
In the account’s recent Coaches Media Poll, Mitchell was picked as the top team for girls’ basketball and Pierre for the boys.
The girls’ order of finish was Mitchell, Aberdeen Central, Brandon Valley, Pierre, Yankton, Brookings, Watertown and Huron. The boys’ poll had Pierre, Huron, Watertown, Brandon Valley, Brookings, Mitchell, Aberdeen Central and Yankton.
The top returners for Aberdeen Central as selected by ESD Weekly are Brynn Flakus and Samantha Knecht for the girls and Brady Mohr for the boys.
Sports writer Deb Smith
Basketball preview books feature area players
The covers for the annual Hanson and Anderson basketball preview books contain group pictures of the top athletes statewide. This year’s edition features several players that area fans could watch.
The boys’ book has a pair of White River players with Wyatt Krogman and Nic Waln. Clark-Willow Lake’s Skyler Flatten, who has verbally committed to South Dakota State, is also pictured. The Aberdeen Roncalli boys’ team will play at Clark-Willow Lake on Feb. 15 in the last regular-season game for the Cavaliers. Roncalli and Clark-Willow Lake are both members of the Northeast Conference.
Tanner Heiser of Watertown, who led the Arrows to win over Aberdeen Central on Tuesday with 23 points and nine rebounds, is a member of the group, along with Zach Hanson of Pierre, a Creighton University recruit. Hanson’s teammate and SDSU recruit Lane Severyn was also pictured.
Other basketball players include: Cole Langer and Bryce Koch of Dell Rapids, Jacob Patterson of Flandreau, Adam Hofer of James Valley Christian, Alex Robertson of Canistota, Adam Bormann of Corsica-Stickney, Cody Bunger of Canistota, Phil Bunkowske of Great Plains Lutheran, Austin Krier of Vermillion, Jesse Taylor of Kimball-White River, Mason Leiseth of Hamlin, Mitchell Brockhaus of West Central, and Brock Zeller of Elk Point-Jefferson.
The girls’ picture has a total of nine area players including Samantha Knecht of Aberdeen Central, a University of Sioux Falls recruit. Other area players are Summer Bailey of McIntosh, Kristie Mettler of Timber Lake, Taylor Madden and Shauni Schwartz of Herreid-Selby Area, Presley and Logan O’Farrell of Summit, Tearnee Nelson of Faith, and Chynna Stevens of Clark-Willow Lake.
The rest of the team is Kendra Cheeseman of Hanson, Darby Hugunin of Sioux Falls Lincoln, Hayley McCarron of Sioux Falls Christian, Kieran O’Malley of Centerville, Allie Kneip of Sioux Falls O’Gorman, Kristin Sabers and Kerri Young of Mitchell, Morgan Forsch of Baltic, Allison Koehn of Brandon Valley, Alyson Johnsen of Beresford, Taylor Trohkimoinen of Newell, Allison Cross of Tri-Valley, Cera Ledbetter of Sioux Falls Lincoln, and Maria Nightingale of Kimball-White Lake.
The 2012-13 season state hockey tournaments and their locations are as follows:
Pee Wee A, Feb. 15-17 at Mitchell.
Pee Wee B, Feb. 15-17 at Rapid City.
Bantam A, Feb. 22-24 at Sioux Falls.
Boys’ Junior Varsity, March 1-3 at Pierre.
Girls’ Varsity, March 1-3 at Huron.
Boys’ Varsity, March 8-10 at Brookings.
— Sports writer Shawn Werre
Last week, Morgan Storley of Britton-Hecla had a rare double-double in girls’ basketball. Storley finished with 10 assists and 11 steals in a victory over Mobridge-Pollock.
Junior Maggie DeJong of Sioux Falls Roosevelt was selected as the Gatorade South Dakota Volleyball Player of the Year. The 6-foot middle blocker led the Rough Riders to a 24-5 record and a State AA title. DeJong had 374 kills, 315 digs, 107 blocks and 32 ace serves while maintaining a 3.07 grade-point average.
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