Sully Buttes freshman Cateri Yellowhawk on the mats in her third appearance at the South Dakota State wrestling tourney.

Sully Buttes wrestlers Cateri Yellowhawk, Saige Heath, and Lucas Yellowhawk qualified to take part in the 2023 South Dakota State B Wrestling Tournament last Thursday-Saturday, February 23-25 in Rapid City.

“I’m so proud of our state qualifiers,” said Chargers Head Wrestling Coach Brady Weischedel. “They wrestled with so much passion and with their hearts on their sleeves. You could see it on their faces as they cried tears of joy and tears of sadness. They gave it everything they had.”

It was Cateri’s third time qualifying to go to State, and she improved upon her 2022 performance, finishing second in her weight class.

“Cateri wrestles with probably the most heart besides maybe her brother Lucas,” said Weischedel. “After she lost to Peyton Hellman in Pierre earlier this season, Teri had one goal and one goal only, make it to the state championship and beat Peyton Hellman in the finals. She wrestled some of the best matches I’ve ever seen her wrestle. She wrestled so smart and aggressive. She wrestled with such poise and was always listening. She made it all the way to the State Championship against Peyton Hellman…right where she wanted to be. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. That doesn’t mean she has anything to hang her head about. She deserved to be in that match, and she made every one (coaches, family, teammates, Charger Nation) so proud.”

Cateri faced Vibrog-Hurley/Irene Wakonda’s Wendi Silverthorn in her first round match, winning by fall at 3:01. In the quarterfinal match, Cateri defeated Belle Fourche’s Alexa Swaney by fall at 5:04. Cateri emerged the victor from the semifinal match over Madison Snyder of Sturgis by decision 8-3. The match for the championship saw Cateri losing by fall at 1:39 to Peyton Hellmann of Bon Homme/Scotland/Avon.

While they met with defeat, teammates Saige Health and Lucas Yellowhawk also had strong State Tourney performances.

“When a lot of athletes would have just given up, Saige battled through injuries with a goal to wrestle again and qualify for state,” said Weischedel. “She did it! I’m positive that if she would have had a full season of practice and tournaments she would have been on that podium, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. That doesn’t take away from how much heart she showed and how much adversity she battled through just to get back on the mat. After she lost her last match you could see the sadness in her eyes, that something she loved so much and had such a passion for was now over. It’s not an easy thing to go through.”

Saige Heath was defeated by decision 7-0 by Allison Konrad of Watertown in her first round match. Saige received a second round bye. In the third round, it was Lauren Petersen of Viborg-Hurley/Irene Wakonda over Saige by fall at 0:38.

“In an absolutely stacked bracket, Lucas wrestled his tail off,” said Weischedel. “His goal was to qualify for state and then place. He came just short of placing as he lost in what is known as the ‘heart break round.’ Heart break indeed. He worked so hard to get to that point and to come up just short was indeed heart breaking. But he gained so much experience, just being able to wrestle at the state tournament, that I know he’ll bring back next year and he’ll be on that podium! Mark my words.”

In his first round match, Lucas lost to Lucas Hueser of Elk Point-Jefferson by fall at 3:18. In wrestle backs, Lucas defeated by fall at 4:39 his second round opponent Wyatt Head of Harding County. It was by decision 8-2 that Lucas lost his final State Tourney match to Colby Kolda of Miller/Highmore Harrold.

“All three of them worked so hard to get to the state tournament, they had such an amazing seasons and I couldn’t be more proud.”