Kernel wrestlers ready for ESD tourneyThe Mitchell wrestling team has been without a few key wrestlers the past week, but tonight Brent Havlik is expected to return to the lineup as the Kernels take on Aberdeen Central in Aberdeen. Jason Greenway expects to make his return to the mat on Saturday for the Eastern South Dakota Conference tournament in Huron.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell wrestling team has been without a few key wrestlers the past week, but tonight Brent Havlik is expected to return to the lineup as the Kernels take on Aberdeen Central in Aberdeen. Jason Greenway expects to make his return to the mat on Saturday for the Eastern South Dakota Conference tournament in Huron.
Havlik and Greenway have both missed over a week for the Kernels.
Mitchell Activities Director Geoff Gross said that the two wrestlers had been dealing with “injury issues,” although Mitchell’s head coach Travis Carpenter insists that the two wrestlers will not have any lingering effects. Carpenter refused to comment any further as to the specifics of the situation.
The Kernels will not return to full strength, however, as 106-pounder Trey Hohn will miss the remainder of the season. Hohn injured his elbow in a dual against Pierre on Friday. Mitchell does not have any other 106-pound wrestlers on the roster.
The loss will hurt Mitchell’s chances at a team title in the conference tournament, but Carpenter doesn’t put a lot of stock in the tournament.
“The conference tournament is to do basically one thing,” Carpenter said. “The top three kids in the tournament end up with all-conference honors. That’s what it’s really about. It’s not a huge thing.”
Carpenter added, “Our big focus is a week from Saturday with the regional tournament. Pretty much everything up to this point has been practice and next week is the real deal. That’s what we’ve been preparing for.”
The Kernels have seven wrestlers that made it through the regional tournament and earned trips to the state tournament last year. Jason Greenway (160) and Brent Havlik (170) both look to become state champions again, Havlik has two state titles in his career, while Lakin Neugebauer (126) hopes to get revenge as he finished runner-up last year at 112 pounds.
Landon Neugebauer (138) also placed last year, earning seventh at 130 pounds. Dylon Bollock (113), Alex Herrick (120) and Matt Larson (132) are the other Kernels who wrestled at the state tournament last season.
Asked if the team would tone down practices at the end of the season to avoid any other injury concerns Carpenter said, “I tried that once upon a time, and it didn’t work. We’re going hard and getting after it. We’ll be working on basics. You have to be able to do the little things right to win big matches.”