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Central wrestling squads return five state place winners

Aberdeen Central’s Mason Schrempp works to break down Yankton’s Dylan Sloan, right, during their match last season at the Golden Eagles Arena. Schrempp is one of five returning state place winners for the Golden Eagles this season. Photo by John Davis taken 2/1/2022

There is plenty of reason for excitment and optimism in the Aberdeen Central wrestling room this season.

The Golden Eagles return all of their state place winners from a year ago, three on the boys’ side and two on the girls’ team.

Central will be led by Mason Schrempp, who was fourth last season, and Rayden Zens, who finished fifth a year ago.

“I think a lot of their teammates look to them and see how they’re going to do,” said Central coach Donnie Bowden, “and especially how they’re going to compete.”

Samson Flakus is also back after finishing eighth at the state tourney.

The Golden Eagles have three seniors on the boys’ team: Jacob Krenz, Jacob Bellefeuille and Logan Opitz.

“They’re all quality kids,” Bowden said. “They’ve been around wrestling for a while.

Bowden said there are currently 53 boys out for wrestling, so the numbers are high which should also lead to some quality depth.

“We’ve got a good youthful team that has some experience and we’ve got some really good young kids coming up behind them,” Bowden said. “We have a lot of competition in the room.”

As a result, Central should be able to field a balanced lineup that includes a blend of youth and experience throughout all of the weight classes.

“We’ve got some good young kids down low, but we’re going to start to hit more of the meat probably towards that middle part,” Bowden said. “Then we’ve got some solid guys in the end.”

That leads to something the Golden Eagles have been searching for.

“We found some balance,” Bowden said. “It’s just going to be finding consistency and getting the kids down to the weights where they need to be.”

The Central girls will be led by Madyson Gillen and Autum Gauer, who both finished seventh at last year’s state tournament. Additional help will come in the form of Katrina Gibson, Eva Hinkle and Ula Martin.

Aberdeen Central’s Madyson Gillen, center, pins Canton’s Jordan Brown during their match at the Lee Wolf Invitational last season at the Golden Eagles Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 1/29/2022

Bowden is hoping to fill each of the weight classes on the girls’ team this season.

“We’ll be a better tournament team probably than a dual team. We’re going to try to span and cross all 10 weights,” he said. “That’s always the goal to try to fill the team first, but I think we have some girls that could score some points at the state tournament and go deeper in tournaments. That’s going to kind of be our strength.”

In an interesting quirk of the season, the Golden Eagles will have just one home dual the entire season, that coming on a Friday afternoon over the Holiday break, in addition to the annual Lee Wolf Tournament.

“We’re going to be road warriors,” Bowden said.

Central opens its schedule at a dual tournament in Watertown on Saturday, Dec. 3.

“We’re just really excited for it. We want to see where we’re at that opening weekend,” Bowden said. “Once we get kids down to the weights, then we’ll really see kind of what we have.”

The team has already established goals and those remain the same from year to year, according to Bowden.

“For the boys’ team we’re always looking for a team trophy. We’re always looking to place. It used to be top eight, but now it’s top six the last couple of years. So we’re always looking for that top six,” Bowden said. “We want to be at the state dual tournament. We want to be a part of that. It would be awesome to bring back a trophy. Obviously, we want to be in the top three in the region.”

For that to happen, Bowden said the each wrestler will need to put forth a consistent effort throughout the entire season.

“That’s what we’re looking for, always have been: consistency,” Bowden said. “We preach it all the time. Every day, what are you doing every day with your daily habits? That’s where we want to be and I think we can get there.”

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