Nine of the top wrestlers responsible for Pierre's state championship last season -- the program's first since 1974 -- are back for more, making the Govs one of the more formidable teams on the Class A scene.
Pierre returns its lone state champion from a season ago in senior Caleb Stoltenberg, who earned the 132-pound title with a 38-9 record, as well as standouts Tanner Monfore (third at 126 pounds), Dawson Monfore (third at 152) and Lane Lettau, who took third at 220 pounds, just to name a few.
Rapid City Central, which finished third last year, also brings back a load of talent with five wrestlers that placed at state, including senior Aero Amo, who was third at 170 pounds with a 50-5 record.
Then there's defending runner-up Huron, which brings back five state placewinners, led by seniors Reagan Francom (36-5 at 152) and Hartman Katz (26-11 at 160), both of whom earned runner-up finishes in their respective weight classes.
Meanwhile, perennial power Sturgis is coming off a fourth-place campaign and could be back in the mix of title contenders behind 106-pound runner-up Brody Jorenson.
"Rapid City Central returns a very solid lineup," Washington coach Marc Murren said, when asked about the top teams entering the season. "Pierre also returns a solid squad and Sturgis is still Sturgis with quality kids."
Spearfish/Lead-Deadwood senior Nate Rotert (49-2 at 195 pounds) and Dakota Valley senior Tanner Lambert (40-5 at 285 pounds) also are looking to repeat individual state championship runs as well.
Here's a closer look at the Sioux Falls schools:
The Warriors pulled off a seventh-place finish at state a year ago behind a pair of individual state champions.
Senior David Potratz, the 106-pound champion with a 43-3 record, is back to make another title run at either 113 or 120 pounds this season with freshman Grant Rosheim, who finished third at 113 pounds with a 36-13 record, moving up to 120 or 126 pounds. Juniors Luke Reiter (152/160), Dan Marlette (182/195) and heavyweight Chris Vroman are returning state qualifiers, giving the otherwise youthful Warriors a solid core to lead the way.
"We're a fairly young squad, we have some wrestlers who we expect to really improve though out the season," Murren said. "Our coaches feel we have some great kids to work with and this squad works really hard in the room."
Two-time defending state champion Troy Kiggins highlights the Rough Riders back to improve on a 14th place finish.
The junior was 39-2 en route to earning the 113-pound title last year while sophomore Kahlen Morris (38-14 at 106) and junior Francis Boehmer (25-15 at 160) are back from place-winner finishes. Freshman Kyle Yasgar, a state qualifier a year ago, also will be expected to give Roosevelt a push at 132 pounds while the loss of Alex Garcia to an injury sustained during the football semifinals will be a significant loss.
"We feel that we are continuing to add young guys to our lineup and look to see sophomores Zach Determan and Brock Kortan have an impact this season," Riders coach Darrell Kortan said. "It's a long season and there are several guys in our program on the bubble working to get to that next level."
The Patriots return two key grapplers from last year's 22nd place finish at state in seniors Ryan O'Connor (seventh at 127 with a 44-16 record) and Seth Harper, who was eighth at 160 pounds with a 36-21 mark.
Lincoln also brings back a mix of youth and experience in sophomores Skyler Castilleja (132) and Hunter DeGraw-Collins (285) and juniors Tyler Nordlund (138) and Brandon Nordlund at 145 pounds.
"We have some great kids in the room, but have a couple of big holes that we hope to have filled up by the first of the year," Patriots coach Mark Ernster said. "We look to make steady improvements over the course of the season as we get everyone settled into the lineup."
With a wealth of youth making up the majority of the Knights' program, there's a good bit of enthusiasm coming into the season.
Of the 48 wrestlers taking the mat for O'Gorman this season, only five are seniors, with the remainder consisting mostly of freshmen, seventh and eighth graders. That being said, coach Jeff Gordon is expecting his handful of upperclassmen to set the tone for the season.
Kier Currier (132), Jack Schuver (220), Conor Tomac (126), Tony Weisensee (182) are among those returning seniors that will be looked to for leadership along with juniors Zach Peltier (132) and sophomores Cole Hayes (113) and Ryan O'Connell at 120 pounds.
"We'll be young with solid senior leadership and looking to improve greatly as the season continues," Gordon said.