Rapid City Post 22 opens play at the State Tournament in Pierre tomorrow afternoon against Brookings. The Hardhats will be looking to win their 42nd state championship overall and the first under first-year head coach Kelvin Torve after falling a little short in 2017.
Post 22, which has racked up a 50-10 record this season, including a 16-1 mark against South Dakota competition, and Brookings did not meet this season but the Hardhats won't be taking Post 74 lightly by any stretch, despite the Bandits entering the tournament with a 10-20 record. Brookings is the Region 1A runner-up after falling to Renner 13-3 in the championship game and Torve said last year's experience in the state tournament is the furthest thing from his team's collective mind.
Torve said, "I think they've moved on. I don't get a sense, you know you guys have asked us a lot about last year and we've had good answers, you know last year is old news. We have not played like we're concerned about last year and so I don't anticipate us playing it he state tournament like we're concerned about last year. Yeah, this is a new year and a new team ... right, you just want to win every game. If you happen to make a mistake, you get two at the state tournament and we'll just take them as they come. We'll just take every game as the last game we're going to play and play like it."
The other three first-round matchups tomorrow will pit Mitchell against Brandon Valley; Renner against Sioux Falls East, which is the only in-state team to have defeated the Hardhats this season, and Yankton against Pierre. The championship round will be played on Sunday.