Wildcat wrestlers win Custer Invitational

Ron Burtz
With a total of six tournament champions, the Custer High School wrestling team wrestled its way to first place in its own season-opening Custer Invitational Tournament over the weekend at the Armory.
Head coach Jared Webster said the six wrestlers in the winners circle was “probably the most we've had at the Custer Tournament in a long time.”
One of the standouts for the Wildcats was freshman Jonathan Lewis who won the 138 pound championship with a sudden victory (7-5) over Oakley Blakeman of Spearfish.
“He stayed in attack the whole match,” said Webster of Lewis. “He was down at the beginning but I think in his mind he was wanting to win and willing to win and knew that he could.”
Webster says Lewis saw his opponent “getting out of position here and there” at the end of the second period and exploited that to his advantage.
“I think we're gonna see a lot of great things [from Jonathan],” said Webster. “He's filled out into a nice weight class and he's very athletic.”
Another first place finisher was Logan Graf in the 106 pound weight class. In the championship round, Graf pinned Josh Hoffman of Spearfish in just 30 seconds.
Mikael Grace at 126 won his championship match by defeating Jacob Harris of Lead/Deadwood by fall in 3:12.
In the 145 pound weight class Brennan Hanes was the champ, defeating Payton DeWitt of Douglas by 12-7 decision.
At 152, Irail Griffin won the championship round by defeating Lead/Deadwood's Domenic Lucero in a 9-1 major decision.
Senior Micaiah Grace was the sixth Wildcat to win first place honors. Wrestling at 170, Grace pinned Pratt Williams of Lead/Deadwood in the championship round in 3:29.
Placing second in the tournament was 113-pound Dylan Beaver who defeated wrestlers from Hemingford, Neb., Hill City and Rapid City Stevens to make it into the finals.
Third place honors went to Pierce Sword (120 pounds) who pinned Kaden Irvine of Rapid City Central in just 45-seconds in the quarter finals.
Custer wrestlers taking home fourth place awards included Sterling Sword (145), Elijah Steele (160) and Ty Dailey in the 195-pound weight class.
Parker Noem took fifth place in the 132-pound class and Nick Herman was seventh at 195.
“Overall I was pleased with the kids and how they wrestled,” said Webster. “Their attitude was amazing.”
Webster says several of his younger wrestlers are considered underdogs right now and he is OK with that, adding that “they're going to turn some heads in the next couple of weeks, especially in the Rapid tournament.”
The Custer team is staying home again this week as the Wildcats host the Custer Quad on Thursday in which they will face Newcastle, Wyo., Bennett County and Newell.
Webster said he is “going to need to move some people around to try to fill all the weight classes,” but is looking for good things from his wrestlers. He adds that he hopes there will be a good turnout of supporters from the community as well.

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