The top contenders in Class B each lost a handful of quality wrestlers from last season, but enough talent returns to conclude that the usual elite suspects can be expected to dominate the mats again this season.
"Definitely Flandreau, then (defending champion) Canton and Wagner are always there," said Tri-Valley coach Mike Gibson, whose team also will be in the mix. "And Parkston's somebody to look out for because they have a lot of really good, young kids."
Gibson returns six wrestlers with state tournament experience, including three that have made a run to the finals. Of that trio, junior Ryan Schumann claimed the 120-pound title last year with a 48-0 record while senior Austin Oyen was the 132-pound runner-up with a 48-3 campaign. Senior Zach Schumann rounds out the Mustangs' top grapplers after placing sixth at 152 pounds along with junior Jacob Thom, who was seventh at 113 pounds.
"We still have high expectations," said Gibson, whose team finished runner-up last season. "If everything goes right with us, we'll be in the fight at the end."
Flandreau brings back five from its sixth-place group, including junior and 132-pound champion Jace Christiansen (42-9) senior Dakota Peterson (35-20), who finished fourth at 170 pounds.
Seniors Tate Lacey (42-11, at 138 pounds) and Kyle Scofield (41-13, 160) and junior Jake Scofield (33-16, 145) should anchor the middle weights for the Fliers, who could be the team to beat this season.
Meanwhile, Wagner brings back four state place-winners, led by junior David Kocer, who took third at 145 pounds with a 45-3 record, and 126-pound runner-up Tyler Dion. Senior Austin Soukup (16-8, 138) and sophomore Trevor Lensing (40-13, 170) and state qualifier Nick Dion make the Red Raiders a tough group to contend with.
"We will be looking for our upperclassmen to step up and be leaders for our younger wrestlers," Wagner coach Chas Welch said. "A big thing for us this year is going to be trying to get guys in the right weight class."
Webster sophomore Nolan Richie, the 113-pound champion at 40-1, and Canton junior Alex Davies, the 138-pound champ at 41-6 highlight their teams' returners.
Other returning champions include Howard sophomore Luke Loudenberg (44-1, 106), Kingsbury County senior Eugene Martin (45-3, 182) and Faulkton senior Rob Aesoph, who won the 285-pound title with a 41-3 record.