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Kernels hoping to avenge close losses at ESD tourney

The top three wrestlers in each weight class will be named Eastern South Dakota all-conference today in Brandon Valley.

For many wrestlers, it's a goal to be all-conference. For others, this tournament can be used for avenging a loss from earlier in the season, or merely as a warm up for the regional and state meets.

For the Mitchell wrestling team, the tournament could be used to get the sour taste of numerous close ESD dual losses out of its mouth and help it focus on the remainder of the season.

The Kernels lost two ESD duals by five points or less, including a season-ending loss to Aberdeen, which helped the Eagles clinch their second straight conference championship.

"I imagine we'll go win those overtime matches this time around," said Carpenter, whose team had numerous close individual losses in critical ESD duals this season. "It would have been nice to get those the first time around, but that's life."

With highly-ranked wrestlers up and down the Kernels' roster, Mitchell should have a chance at racking up the most team points. Although team points are kept at the tournament, the winner won't be named the ESD champion. That is determined by the best dual win-loss record through the season in the eight-team conference.

To be named all-conference individually, a wrestler must finish in the top three of his respective division.

"That's what this tournament is all about; it's not necessarily about team points," Carpenter said. "They do keep team points, but it's not an ESD champion. It's more of a 'kudos to you' if you win it."

Mitchell, which finished 4-3 in ESD duals this season, has many wrestlers that should be named all-conference after today's tournament.

Lakin Neugebauer (112) took third in the regional tournament last season as a freshman and enters today's tournament with a 21-9 record as a sophomore.

"It's kind of just all over the place in that weight class, so it will be kind of fun to see how that turns out," Carpenter said. "If Lakin wrestles really well, then he's got an opportunity to be in the finals. If he doesn't wrestle well, he could end up not placing.

"That will be good for him to see where he's at region-wise also, with Huron and Pierre in there."

Ryan Buck also took third in the regional tournament last season. The junior 140-pounder brings a 15-10 record into today and could help avenge one of those tough dual losses the Kernels suffered. Buck was defeated by Aberdeen's Griffin Hieb in triple overtime, 5-4, in Mitchell's 32-27 ESD dual loss, and could wrestle him again today. Buck is ranked No. 12 in the state, while Hieb is No. 10.

Sophomore twins Jason and Justin Greenway will be at 145 and 152, and both could be wrestling some of the state's best.

Jason Greenway is 22-5 and potentially could wrestle Huron's Cord Glanzer, a defending state champion, in the finals.

"I'd like to see how he does with Glanzer," Carpenter said.

Justin Greenway, who has only wrestled 13 matches so far due to an early-season injury, has two tough opponents to get past to be crowned ESD champion. Both Aberdeen's Ray Anderson (No. 2) and Pierre's Tyler Sarringer (No. 3) are ranked higher than Greenway, who's ranked fourth.

"That will be interesting there," Carpenter said. "We need to get that win back against Serringer. We've beaten him and he's beaten us."

Another interesting match in finals could be at 171 pounds if the Kernels' Jordan Reiner wrestles Pierre's Terrance Maier.

Reiner defeated Maier most recently at the Class A dual tournament Jan. 30, but Maier got the previous win at the Mitchell Invite two weeks earlier.

"If they get there again, it will be a fun one to watch," Carpenter said.

Cole Johnson (189) could possibly be out of the tournament due to an injury, but Carpenter said he would be ready for the regional tournament next weekend.

"Cole's been dinged up a little bit," Carpetner said. "I don't know if he'll go this weekend for sure or not, but next weekend (he will)."

Besides Reiner, Kyle Larson (215) and Wes McPherson (285) are the other seniors who will be wrestling in their final ESD tournament. Larson, who took second in state last season, is the top-ranked heavyweight in Class A and has a 24-2 record this year. McPherson is 20-8 and took eighth at the state tournament last season.

Mitchell's Brent Havlik enters today's tournament as the only undefeated Mitchell wrestler. He's 26-0 at 160 pounds, including 7-0 at ESD duals this season.

Alex Herrick (103), Landon Neugebauer (112), Ben Kummer (125) and Justo Lopez (130) will also be wrestling today for Mitchell.

"The good thing for the kids is if we see some of those Huron, Pierre and Aberdeen kids that have beaten us, and we get a chance to knock them off, that will help us with our seeding purposes next weekend (at regions) and give us confidence," Carpenter said. "Likewise, if we get beat by someone that we have beaten, it could go the other way."

The tournament starts at 11 a.m. today at the Brandon Valley High School.