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Katz, Francom claim state titles for Tigers

Posted: Monday, Feb 25th, 2013

Huron’s Hartman Katz, left, wrestles John Frisco of Aberdeen Central in the championship match at 152 pounds during the Class A State Tournament on Saturday at the Watertown Civic Arena. In the next photo, Huron’s Matt Halter, left, battles Tanner Lambert of Dakota Valley in the championship match at 285 pounds on Saturday during the Class A State Tournament. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ROGER MERRIAM/WATERTOWN PUBLIC OPINION

WATERTOWN — The Huron wrestling team qualified three wrestlers for the final and emerged with a pair of state champions on Saturday at the Class A State Tournament at the Watertown Civic Arena.

Seniors Hartman Katz and Reagan Francom collected back-to-back titles for the Tigers at 152 and 160 pounds respectively. It was the first state championship for both wrestlers.

“They both went into the tournament very focused and very intense,” Huron coach Dan McCarty said of Katz and Francom. “They didn’t care who they had to wrestle to win a title.”

Katz used a 3-2 decision against Brett Bye of Vermillion, who was the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the state, to reach the championship match and then defeated John Frisco of Aberdeen Central 9-4 in the title match.

“Hartman wrestled a full six minutes,” McCarty said. “ He didn’t make any mistakes and capitalized on his opponents mistakes to earn some back points to secure the win.”

Katz finished the season at 40-7.

Francom capped his high school career in impressive fashion.

After getting past Shane O’Connell of Rapid City Central, who was the No. 2-ranked wrestler in the state, with a 3-1 decision in the semifinals, Francom needed just 36 seconds to record a pin against Milbank’s Spencer Folk in the title match.

“Reagan just went out there and dominated,” McCarty said.

Francom finished the season at 40-4.

Senior Matt Halter was the other wrestler for the Tigers to reach the championship match on Saturday.

Halter, who missed a majority of the season while recovering from knee surgery, earned a shot at the title for a third consecutive year with a pin in 37 seconds against Justin Behrends of Brookings in the semifinals. His bid for the championship was thwarted by Tanner Labert of Dakota Valley, who won a second straight state title with a 5-2 decision.

“He worked so hard to get to where he was. We weren’t even sure he would be able to wrestle after the knee injury, but he gave it everything he had to get to where he did,” McCarty said. “It’s unfortunate that it didn’t end differently for him, being a senior. I would have liked to see him win the title.

Halter finished the season at 17-2.

Overall, seven of the 11 Huron wrestlers, who qualified for the state tournament, earned placings.

Junior Chet Glanzer was third for the Tigers at 126, while junior Tyler Kleinsasser at 182 and senior Dustin French at 195 both were fourth. Junior Wyatt Shillingstad was fifth at 113.

Huron finished third in the final team standings with 145 points. Pierre won the state title with 180 points, while Rapid City Central was second at 159.5.

Rounding out the top five were Aberdeen Cental at 109.50 and Spearfish/Lead-Deadwood at 107.

“When we go into the tournament our No. 1 goal is to be state champions,” McCarty said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way.

“As the tournament progressed Pierre had the better team,” he said. “We were able to push Rapid City Central for the second spot for a while but they were able to finish a little bit ahead of us. I am very happy with our tournament and where we finished.”

For the complete article see the 02-24-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-24-2013 paper.

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