All the blood, sweat, tears, and endless hours of hard work paid off for MHS senior Eli Fischer. He won the State Class A wrestling title at 126 pounds on Saturday, February 29.
“It feels amazing,” said Fischer. “Coach Krause told me to leave it all out on the mat, and that’s what I did. It’s starting to sink in now. It feels so good that I finally accomplished what has been a lifelong dream for me.”
Fischer won his opening match of the tournament with a 14-4 major decision. In the quarterfinals, he secured another major decision for a 12-2 victory. He then defeated Jacob Vogel of Dell Rapids, 6-4, in the semi-finals, which sent him to the championship match. “After my semi-finals match, it hit me that I was in the state championship,” Fischer said. “From that point until the end of my final match, I was very focused.”
Fischer faced Riley Hollingshead of Sioux Falls Roosevelt in the championship tilt. Hollingshead was the No. 4 seed in the tournament and the returning state champion. In an exciting match, Fischer outlasted Hollingshead 3-2 to claim the state title.
“At one point, when a stalemate was called, it really clicked that I was in the state championship,” Fischer said. “I buckled down and told myself I needed to keep wrestling hard to win it. I want to thank my coaches for all they have done for me. I couldn’t have done this without them.”
“I’m very excited for Eli,” stated the Bulldogs’ head coach Jeremy Tostenson. “He has overcome a lot with injuries and sicknesses. With this being his last opportunity, he took advantage of the bracket and put it all together.”
Toby Schneck was the other place winner for the Bulldogs. He captured fifth place at 182 pounds. Schneck won his opening tournament match with a pin. He then lost by injury default in the quarterfinals. Schneck came back in the wrestle-backs with a 4-3 win against Webster of Spearfish. He then avenged an earlier loss this season by defeating Larsen of Huron with a score of 7-2. Schneck then faced the No. 2 seed Jayden Hartford of Watertown and was defeated 12-0, which sent him to the fifth-place match. He defeated Synhorst of Rapid City Stevens, 10-3.
“We are very proud of Toby,” stated Coach Tostenson. “He hasn’t practiced much in the past two weeks due to back and ankle injuries, but he found a way to get himself on the podium. Toby is the perfect example of good things happening to those who work hard.”
Milbank landed in 17th place in the team standings with 42 points. Rapid City Stevens was crowned the Class A champion with 159. Brandon Valley was the runner-up with 158 points.