SUTHERLAND — The race to state is under way.
The D4 District Wrestling Tournament kicked off on Friday at Sutherland with 17 teams battling not only for their wrestlers to be in the top four and advance to state, but the top four finishing teams in each district will advance to the State Dual Tournament on Feb. 23.
Two area teams are currently in the top four in the standings through the quarterfinals and two rounds of wrestlebacks. Bayard leads the tournament with 29.5 points, followed by Hay Springs with 27, Mullen with 25, Stapleton-McPherson County at 23.5, Morrill with 22, Perkins County with 18, Sutherland with 15, Hitchcock County with 12, Crawford with 11.5, Garden County with 7, Banner County with 6, Hemingford with 6, Minatare with 6, Sioux County with 6, Creek Valley with 4, Wauneta-Palisade with 4 and Hyannis with 0.
The D4 District Tournament has 17 teams, but is down in numbers of wrestlers.
“We talked about that some,” said SMC head coach Tim Negley. “We have about 30 less wrestlers than D3 and about 50 less than the other two district tournaments.
“That’s not to say there is no talent here. There are lots of tough wrestlers in this district.”
One of those tough wrestlers is SMC’s 132-pounder Colt Lewis. He easily advanced into today’s semifinals with a pin over Hitchcock County’s Corey Anderson in the quarterfinals.
“Colt’s had a really good season,” said Negley. “That was his 33rd win of the season.
“We believe we should get four wrestlers to state, but with some breaks, we hope we can get six or seven there.”
Prior to this season the district tournaments were all held in one day. This season, all the tournaments are two-day events, except in Class A, which wrestles only today.
“It’s a little down in numbers,” said Sutherland head coach Ryan Mraz. “It will be a little louder and have more intensity during the action [Saturday]”
Sutherland’s big two of 120-pounder Collin Fleecs and 126-pounder Chandler Tyan each advanced to today’s semifinals.
Other area wrestlers to advance to the semifinals include Mullen’s Dalton Zimmerman at 113, Coleton Doetker of Hitchcock County at 120, Trey Johnson of Perkins County at 126, Mark Hanson of Perkins County at 138, Garrett Cox of Mullen at 152, Gage Crowell of Wauneta-Palisade at 160, Gideon Monette of Mullen at 160, John Sonnenfeld of SMC at 182, Levi Peterson of SMC at 220, Vinny Ross of Perkins County at 285 and Justin Cosler of SMC at 285.
Due to the smaller numbers, there were only four first-round matches and four second-round wrestleback matches on Friday’s first day.
The semifinals and third round consolation matches will begin today at 10 a.m.