RAPID CITY — Maraia Kruske and Taylor Graveman placed themselves in the history books by becoming the first two Spearfish girls’ wrestlers to earn South Dakota state championships Saturday evening at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
Kruske claimed top honors in the Class A 112-pound division by pinning teammate Shea Irion in 5 minutes 56 seconds of the final match. Graveman followed suit in the Class A 143 division, pinning Pierre’s Hattie Baldwin in 1 minute 17 seconds.
The state title was significant for Kruske on more than one level.
“Just to have this opportunity is huge for all of us girls in the state,” said Kruske, who has wrestled for eight years. “It means a lot to me because I’ve worked so hard my whole life for this.”
Kruske said she and Irion wrestle every day in practice, and the title match was hard. “I’m just really proud of both of us fighting the whole time,” Kruske added.
The third period started with Kruske holding a 2-1 lead. She was asked what enabled her to take control late.
“You kind of have an inner power,” Kruske said. “That third period, you have everyone cheering for you; you get such a rush of adrenaline.”
Kruske said she did not expect such a large state tournament crowd because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She added she was really happy with everyone coming out.
Reaching the state tournament and finishing with a winning record were goals that Kruske accomplished. Her final mark was 33-12.
“I was super anxious and wanted to go out there and win what was mine,” Graveman said after her title match.
Graveman was grateful and thankful for the opportunity presenting itself when South Dakota sanctioned girls’ wrestling. “I’m super glad that I have my family, my wrestling team, and all of the fans that were here tonight,” she said.
This tournament marked the highlight of Graveman’s season. Her final mark was 36-3.
Graveman achieved a goal of winning all state matches by first-period pin. The championship match was her longest of the weekend; other pins came in 57 and 49 seconds, respectively.
Spearfish teammates Madelynn Schlup and Ellie Jeffery placed sixth and eighth, respectively, in the girls’ A 112 division. Sydney Badwound finished seventh in the girls’ A 131 division.
Josh Hoffman of Spearfish claimed third place in the Class A boys’ 113-pound division. Teammate Bailey Badwound was fourth at 152.
“A lot of guys got some good experience here,” Spearfish head coach John Bokker said. “They’re going to be used to it when they get up next year.”
Bokker said Hoffman worked very hard and has matured so much this season. The Spartans finished with 38 points.
The championships of Kruske and Graveman were huge for Bokker. He hopes this propels the Spartan program, and more girls come out for the sport.
Belle Fourche received a fourth-place finish from Hailey Rodriguez in the girls’ A 124-pound weight Class.
“On the guys’ side, it was pretty devastating,” Broncs’ head coach Bill Abell said. All seven athletes finished 0-2 for the weekend.
Abell said Belle Fourche had a rough draw and did not respond in the second round. He added the team did not wrestle to its ability.
Riley Dighton (106 pounds) and Rodriguez earned Abell’s praise for their efforts.
Sturgis Brown’s Wren Jacobs (160 pounds) and Reese Jacobs (170) won state A championships in their respective weight Classes. Their efforts helped the Scoopers place sixth at 113.5 points.
Wren Jacobs outlasted Brandon Valley’s Isaac Klinkhammer 4-2 in overtime of the 160-pound title match. Reese Jacobs defeated Watertown’s Lexan Thorson 5-3 in the 170 final match.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better match to have in the finals,” Wren Jacobs said. Saturday marked the first time the two have met.
“Going out there back to back: that was the best part,” said Wren after also seeing Reese win his title. “Nothing better.”
Kelton Olson (third place at 132 pounds), Logan DeSersa (fifth at 126), Korbin Osborn (sixth at 106), Perry Ketelsen (sixth at 138), and Maverick Simons (eighth at 120) also placed for the Sturgis Brown boys’ team. Scooper girls’ placings came from Brooklyn Brant (fifth at 124), Madison Snyder (fifth at 143), and Abbie Culver (seventh at 143).
Scoopers’ head coach Mike Abell noted Wren Jacobs sustained season-ending elbow injuries in the past. Abell said the aim for this year was to reduce Jacobs’ match numbers to keep him healthy for regionals and state.
Reese Jacobs had to wrestle right after that match and performed very well, Abell said. He talked about the bond Wren and Reese Jacobs share.
“Those two brothers are something special,” Abell said. “They’re there for each other all the time; they drill together in the room.”
DeSersa, Olson, Ketelsen, Osborn, and Simons earned Abell’s praise for their efforts.
“I think it was a huge success across the state,” Abell said in describing the girls’ tournament. “Girls’ wrestling is not going anywhere; it’s going to grow fast.”
Brandon Valley collected 188 points for the state A team title.
Trinity Zopp claimed third place in the girls’ 160-pound Class B division.
Cody Rakow represented the Golddiggers in the Class B boys’ 170-pound weight Class and placed fifth. The boys’ team finished with 12 points.
“We wrestled a lot of tough matches,” said Lead-Deadwood head coach Philip Thomas, who added the athletes did well.
Rakow and Zopp earned Thomas’ praise for their efforts. “It was probably the best tournament he’s ever wrestled,” Thomas said of Rakow.
Caleb McGregor represented the Irrigators on the podium. He emerged with fourth place from the Class B 195-pound weight Class.
Newell head coach Dylan VanDerBoom said Chase VanDerBoom (138 pounds) fared better on Friday after a slow start on Thursday. McGregor earned VanDerBoom’s praise for his efforts.
The Irrigators collected 19 points on the weekend.
Canton won the state B team title at 216.5 points.
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