Havlik leads Mitchell to strong region showing
EAGLE BUTTE — The long trip to Region 3A wrestling tournament was worth it for the Mitchell wrestling team Saturday.
Led by a region championship at 160 pounds from senior Briggs Havlik, the Kernels secured 10 individual state tournament berths and took home third place as a team. Pierre won the region title with 203.5 points, followed by Aberdeen Central with 169 points. Mitchell scored 144, edging Huron with 137 points and Chamberlain with 113 points.
"I was pleased with the effort of the kids," Mitchell coach Travis Carpenter said. "We had some really good wins in the semifinals to put some kids in the state tournament. We wrestled with a purpose and with an attitude. And I think our kids know that it's all important every time you're out on the mat. It's the postseason."
Havlik, who improved to 35-3 on the season, won his first two matches with pins but had to battle Pierre's Austin Senger for the championship. In the sixth match between the two wrestlers this season, Havlik won 3-2 in the ultimate tiebreaker portion of overtime.
"It's one of those deals where the top three kids in this region have seen each other a ton," Carpenter said. "We know each other well and there's no surprises. Briggs did a great job of wrestling smart and he's going to be the No. 1 seed at the state tournament. Now, we've got to go out and do our thing next weekend."
Mitchell had five wrestlers reach the region championship match, but only Havlik earned a victory. Logan Sparks (132) was pinned by Pierre's William Turman in the second period of his title match. Chipper Shillingstad, of Huron, downed Cole Gehrke (138) with a first-period pin and Sutton Carpenter (145) dropped a 12-1 major decision to Pierre's Michael Lusk. Carson Max injury defaulted out of the 195-pound title match against Gage Gehring, of Pierre.
Coach Carpenter said they played it safe with Max, who has been nursing an injury. With some rest, Carpenter said he hopes Max will be ready for Friday's opening rounds of the state meet. Max earned the No. 1 seed in the 195-pound state bracket announced Sunday night.
Kyler Bauder (120), Ryan McGinnis (126) and Beau Foote (220) each took third place, punching trips to the state meet. Max Schoenfelder (170) finished in fourth place to also claim a state tournament spot.
Also in the Region 3A field, Chamberlain took home three region championships, led by Nash Hutmacher's dominating day at 285 pounds. Hutmacher, the sophomore and defending state champion, earned three pins — all in the first period — to improve to 46-0. He took down Pierre's Pryce Dyk in 1 minute, 38 seconds for the championship.
Max Donovan improved to 41-4 on the season with a 4-1 decision over Jace Bench-Bresher, of Pierre, at 113 pounds, while Collin Powell won the 120-pound title with an 8-6 win in the first sudden-victory period over Pierre's Lincoln Turman.