They are the defending State B champions, reigning Northeast Conference champs and will be the hunted this weekend when the NEC wrestling tourney takes place in Redfield.
The Webster Bearcats will clearly wear the favorite label when the event gets underway at 11 a.m. Saturday.
I would imagine that we would be favorite to win the conference, said Webster coach Wade Rausch, whose team lost only one event last season, the Lee Wolf Invitational at Golden Eagles Arena.
While the Bearcats no longer have six-time state champion Logan Storley who graduated, they still possess plenty of firepower.
However, other teams will be in hot pursuit.
Webster - followed by Sisseton, Groton and Clark, predicted Redfield-Doland coach Fran Esser.
Groton is coming off a solid showing in winning the Faulkton Invitational last weekend.
I think Webster would be the favorite, said Aberdeen Roncalli coach Justin Briese, but Groton wrestled really well. It's going to be a fun weekend of wrestling.
Rausch understands the competition will be out in full force gunning for his team.
It will take balance to win this year's title. Last year, we caught some breaks and some other teams were a bit short-handed at that time, Rausch recalled. I think the field will be more balanced this year than last and will be a closer race than last year. Groton, Sisseton and Redfield will all put pressure on us for the NEC title this year.
Redfield-Doland, which won the conference championship two years ago, will be hard pressed to repeat its runnerup performance of last season, according to Esser.
We just lost six excellent seniors and can't replace them, Esser pointed out. We will have to wrestle well to get in the top four.
Roncalli has one returning NEC champion in Tyson Mitzel. While the Cavaliers are down on numbers, Briese would like to see as many of his wrestlers on the awards stand as possible.
That's always the goal, Briese said, to get as many guys to place as you can.
Sports writer Dave Vilhauer
Coach Robey returns
Sioux Falls O'Gorman boys' basketball coach Derek Robey makes his second return trip to Aberdeen since he took the head job at O'Gorman. Robey, who previously coached girls' and boys' basketball at Aberdeen Central and Aberdeen Roncalli, is in his 26th season as a head coach and his seventh with the Knights.
A Mitchell High School and Northern State graduate, Robey remembers well his first return to Aberdeen to play the Golden Eagles.
It was my second year down here (Sioux Falls) in the 2006-07 season, said Robey. We lost 52-51. We were actually down 11-0 in the opening minutes of the game. Aberdeen couldn't miss. I burned two time outs right away. We actually inched our way back into the game and hit a layup and took the lead from a set look with four seconds to go. After a time out, we lost track of Jordan Foster streaking down the sideline as he catches a pass and hits a layup at the buzzer. The place went nuts. Fun game. Long ride home. Ironically, that was the same year we both met in the championship game in Sioux Falls.
O'Gorman plays Aberdeen Central at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Golden Eagles Arena. First, the Knights tangle with Sioux Falls Lincoln on Friday. The Knights, who are the defending State AA champions, have won four of the last six state titles.