Mitchell wrestling team begins season SaturdayThe Mitchell wrestling team may be young, but it’s working hard.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell wrestling team may be young, but it’s working hard.
The Kernels graduated seven seniors from its squad that finished fifth in the Class A state tournament last year, including three-time champion Brent Havlik and two-time champion Jason Greenway.
“We are young, but the kids we have are working hard,” Mitchell head coach Travis Carpenter said. “We are battling through it, and we are going to look for progress from now until February.”
With such a young squad, Carpenter is hoping to see his team get better as the season goes along.
“As young as we are, we’re going to gauge things on progress,” Carpenter said.
While the Kernels lost quite a few guys from last season’s team, the cupboard is not completely bare.
Matt Larson, Alex Herrick, Trey Hohn, Robert McCardle and Tyson Sprinkle all have state tournament experience and will be relied upon to help guide the team to a respectable finish.
“We lost seven or eight guys that were in the starting roster last season, but we have to keep working hard, keep helping each other and keep listening to coach,” said Herrick, who placed fourth in the 120-pound weight class last year.
“State was great,” Herrick said. “My finish last year was good, but I want to keep getting better.”
Herrick, a junior, has been a part of the wrestling team since his seventh-grade year, when he was a member of the junior varsity squad. With the help of Carpenter and his teammates, he has progressed into an all-conference wrestler.
“Coach taught me all of these moves that we are still learning today, and we just keep improving at every single move the more we practice them,” said Herrick, who is the lone returning Kernel to make the podium last year.
Landon Neugebauer also placed last year and was set to return to the team this winter but suffered a knee injury in a football game this fall.
“We had some interesting things happen prior to the season with injuries, but we are going to take the kids we have and move forward,” Carpenter said.
While several individual efforts will be needed to get Mitchell in the win column this season, Carpenter said wrestling is very much still a team sport.
“Everything you do is a part of the team, no matter what individual accolades may come,” he said. “Everything is a matter of perspective, you have to go out and work your butt off because if you win, you have a target on your back. If you’re not winning, then you have to work to get a little bit better.”
The young Kernels open their season Saturday at the Watertown dual tournament in Watertown.