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Larson, Herrick back on mat for Kernels, ready for Class A state tournament

Saturday, for the first time since mid-January, Mitchell wrestlers Alex Herrick and Matt Larson were both in the lineup for the Kernels.

The result was a fourth place at the Region 3A wrestling tournament for Mitchell and a second- and third-place finish for Larson and Herrick, respectively.

The Kernels, who have not had the duo together since the Jerry Opbroek Invitational on Jan. 12, are sending seven wrestlers to this weekend's Class A state tournament. Among them are Larson (145) and Herrick (132), two of the team's most experienced competitors who are back in the lineup after missing recent time because of injuries.

"Their return helps a lot," Mitchell coach Travis Carpenter said. "They are our best kids at those weight classes and without them, our chances at placing at the state tournament aren't as great. There isn't anything you can do about injuries, so you just move forward and plug in who you can and hope everyone gets healed up by the time you hit the region and state tournament."

Herrick was out with partially torn tendons in his right thumb. The junior suffered the injury during practice.

Saturday, Herrick earned his fourth state tournament berth with a third-place region finish. He holds a 17-6 record on the year. Last season, Herrick finished fourth at the 120-pound weight class to help the Kernels place fifth as a team.

"I don't think my injury will slow me down," he said. "I learned last week that since I have been out of the room, that it is more my conditioning is what I need to work on. I am not really nervous about my injury. I am more nervous about how I am going to do."

Larson, who qualified for the state tournament for the second time in his high school career, has been out with concussion-like symptoms, an injury he suffered during practice. The sophomore sat out the last three weeks and took it easy in anticipation for the region tournament. As a freshman, Larson missed the state tournament because of injury.

Saturday at regions, Larson capitalized on his chance to get back to state with a second-place finish. Headed into state, he is 20-10 this season.

"Saturday actually went really well. My first match really helped me get the kinks out," Larson said. "It's nice to be back. I definitely think being back in the lineup makes things easier for me and the team."

Joining Larson and Herrick at the state tournament for Mitchell is Trey Hohn (120), Ethan Parr (138), Ben Kummer (160), Tyson Sprinkel (220) and Robert McCardle (285).

Mitchell competes in the Class A state tournament Friday and Saturday in Watertown.