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Kernels tout full lineup for Region 3A tourney

Mitchell's Briggs Havlik closes in on a pin during a match against Chamberlain at the MHS gym earlier this season. (Eric Mayer / Republic)

Fourteen Mitchell High School wrestlers are looking to book a trip to the state tournament at the Region 3A wrestling tournament, which begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday in Mitchell.

It's the first time in more than five years that Mitchell will have a wrestler compete in every weight class in the region tournament. To qualify for state, wrestlers needed to finish in the top four of their respective weight class.

After sending five wrestlers to the state tournament last year, Mitchell head coach Travis Carpenter likes his team's chances to qualify as many wrestlers as possible.

"All of them have that chance to get in and that's what we've preached," Carpenter said. "It's a new season. Everyone is 0-0 and you have to want to get in."

Carpenter said realistically the Kernels could send anywhere from six to 12 wrestlers, depending on how Saturday goes. Two-time defending state champion Pierre leads the region field, while wrestlers from Aberdeen Central, Chamberlain, Cheyenne-Eagle Butte/Dupree, Huron, Milbank Area and Todd County will also compete.

For Mitchell, Cole Gehrke (132 pounds), Briggs Havlik (152), Kyle Foote (160) and Carson Max (195) each hope to return to state, but Max said the entire team needs to believe they can make place in the top four.

"We have 14 guys stepping on the mat, we really hope to take 14 to state," Max said. "It should be a lot of fun. We'll have plenty of support and we'll get to stay in our comfort zone a little bit."

Other wrestlers competing for Mitchell are Kyler Bauder (106), Ryan McGinnis (113), Colby Gillen (120), Logan Sparks (126), Sutton Carpenter (138), Barry Browning (145), Cade Carpenter (170), Max Schoenfelder (182), Zeb Parsons (220) and Mitch Schladweiler (285).

It's the first time since 2010 that Mitchell has hosted the region tournament, which rotates among the eight region schools. Coach Carpenter said his team should benefit from not having to travel the night before the tournament.

"We are way ahead of where we were a year ago at this time," Carpenter said. "The effort of these kids to get to this point has been great. We've come a long ways in three months. I think the kids are prepared and they'll be ready to go."

Region 3A touts some of Class A's top wrestlers as Pierre has five wrestlers ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in their weight class, while Aberdeen Central has four wrestlers ranked in the top-two slots, according to the latest Dakota Grappler rankings.

For the Governors, Lincoln Turman (113) and Spencer Sarringar (195) are the top-ranked wrestlers in their class, while William Turman (120), Michael Lusk (132) and Aric Williams (145) are ranked No. 2.

Aberdeen Central's Jacob Moore (106), Bradley Nelson (170) and Braiden Nelson (182) are all ranked No. 1, while Collin Haar (152) is ranked second. Moore enters the tournament undefeated, as does Chamberlain's Nash Hutmacher, who is ranked No. 1 at 285 pounds.

Admission for the day's wrestling is $7 for adults and $4 for students at the MHS gym.