By Coach Jay Darrow
The Edgemont Junior High had another successful season with seven Mogul wrestlers representing the program at seven tournaments. We had two fifth graders who wrestled hard for us this year. JJ Ostenson finished the season with three wins and a ton of confidence going into the AAU season. JJ is an absolute pleasure to Coach and he will have a lot of success in the years to come. He had to wrestle in the seventh grade division but never let that dampen his spirits. Blake Hanes finished the season with a second place at the Black Hills Conference Tournament. He also had to wrestle at the seventh grade division this year and brought home a win in every tournament finishing the season with eight wins. He has also made the jump from AAU to Junior High successfully and we will continue to challenge him and expect great things.
The sixth grade grapplers have more energy than any two wrestlers that I have ever had the pleasure to Coach. Cooper Reutter finished the season with five wins but that is not a good representation of how much Cooper has advanced this year. He has improved in every aspect of his game developing a good head/hands defense which creates takedown opportunities which led to pins in most cases. Cooper is one of those strong ranch kids that will not quit when on the bottom but will punish you when he is on top. Cade Grill finished the season with nine wins and took home first place in Hill City, Hemingford, and Rapid City. I am so confident in Cade’s abilities that I threw him in the toughest bracket in the last two tournaments of the year but he held up his end of the bargain wrestling very tough. He will most definitely be a force to be reckoned with for the Edgemont and eventually the Custer/Edgemont program.
Mason Cortney is the only seventh grader to wrestle this year and he was a lot of fun to watch as he racked up eight wins and won the Hill City and Douglas tournaments. After taking a couple of years off Mason realized that the Junior High intensity was a little bit higher but he thrived on it. Mason is strong, flexible and does not get rattled very easy all contributing to his success. He will be a good leader for our team next year and I am looking forward to another year with Mason in the wrestling room.
We were fortunate to have two eighth grade wrestlers to lead us this year. Caleb Simons wrestled in four tournaments and finished the season with seven wins and only four losses. He was the Hot Springs Champion and finished two tournaments with second place and one fifth. Caleb left us a little early because his talents were needed on the High School basketball team. Caleb is extremely strong and quick but lacks a little bit of experience due to not one but two years of broken wrists which kept him sidelined. Caleb had a good year and we were glad to have him as part of the team.
Grant Darrow had an amazing year finishing the year with an 18-1 record with his only loss to an old teammate from Newcastle. Grant did not lose to any South Dakota or Nebraska wrestlers winning the Hill City, Hemingford, Hot Springs, Rapid City, and Douglas tournaments and finally pinning his way to the Black Hills Conference Championship. Grant has not only become a very respected wrestler in the Black Hills area he has also become a leader on this team, he will be greatly missed in the Junior High wrestling room and we know he will be successful in High School WRESTLING or basketball. LOL
Michael Gaul stepped forward and donated his class room but more especially his time and patience to give our wrestlers a place to have study hall after school until practice started at five o’clock. I do not think that he realizes how important this resource is to the wrestler’s academics but providing a safe place for them to go for that hour and a half. With a couple of our kids living in the country they cannot just run home to get a snack and come back for practice.
This is a season summary of our Junior High wrestlers but the High School wrestling season is just kicking off and we have two great athletes who have become an important part of the Custer/Edgemont Coop wrestling team. Brennan Hanes and Chance Grill are both dynamic wrestlers that need our support. Please check out the Custer/Edgemont Wrestling schedule at the Edgemont High School website (https://edgemont.k12.sd.us) and find time to go and cheer on our boys. You can also follow them by the articles written by Jeff and Diana Grill in this paper. We are very blessed to have Coach Jared Webster and the entire Custer wrestling community who have taken us into their family to make the Custer/Edgemont TEAM a reality. At this time the team is undefeated in dual competition, great job gentleman.
I am extremely proud of the entire Edgemont Wrestling program and there is no way that all of this could have happened without the help of Jeff and Diana Grill and George Darrow. Jeff is an amazing wrestling technician who loves this sport; he is a great Coach and example for our youth. Diana helps support our program in every way by keeping me organized and communicating with Jeff and the School when I am unable to pull everything off. She also drives the High School wrestlers back and forth to Custer almost every day and honestly I do not think she is human with all of her energy.
George Darrow helped members of this community start the AAU wrestling program in 1979 and has been the driving force behind the AAU program for 37 years now. His unwavering support was instrumental in the Edgemont High School wrestling program from 1985 until approximately 2003. He has been an Assistant Coach with us since 2012 as well as driving the High School wrestlers to Custer whenever Diana is busy. He is the backbone and patriarch of the Edgemont wrestling program.
I would also like to thank Dick Porter who has driven the High Schoolers to Custer on occasion, Lane Ostenson, Deanne Brown, Dave Cortney as well as the School Board for their support all of these years. This is a team effort that extends far beyond the walls of our wrestling room.