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Kernels overcoming 4 open weight classes, host invitational

Mitchell’s Chase Klingaman wrestles Aberdeen Central’s Brian Reisenauer during a 220-pound match earlier this year in Aberdeen. The Kernels host the Jerry Opbroek Invitational at 11 a.m. today at Mitchell High School. (John Davis/Aberdeen American News)

Before each match starts, the Kernels know they have a hole to dig out of.

Despite having four open weight classes, the Mitchell wrestling team has a 5-4 record in dual competition this season. The four open weight classes each result in a forfeit, giving six points to the opposing team — the same amount that would result from being pinned in a match.

“It says a lot about of the kids that we put out there,” Mitchell wrestling coach Travis Carpenter said.

The Kernels will have a chance to perform in front of their home crowd for the second time this season today in the Jerry Opbroek Invitational at 11 a.m. at Mitchell High School. The event includes 14 teams from Class A and B and places an emphasis on the individual more than the team focus of duals.

“It is a little easier going into an individual event like this weekend where each kid is working to get a place on the award stand,” Carpenter said. “I’d like to see each of our wrestlers place.”

What the Kernels lack in quantity, they make up for in quality, as nine of the 10 Mitchell wrestlers who compete on a regular basis have a winning record.

“Each wrestler steps up as a leader at times for this team,” Carpenter said.

Mitchell also has seven wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of their respective weight classes in Class A, with Alex Herrick holding the highest ranking, sitting 3rd at 152 pounds. Herrick holds the best winning percentage on the team with a 17-3 record.

“As a senior, Alex has really come out and wrestled strong for us all year,” Carpenter said.

At 225 pounds for the Kernels, Chase Klingaman has stepped up with a 14-6 record, while Preston Skinner is 11-6 at 182 pounds. Both are ranked seventh in Class A in their respective weight classes.

“Both Chase and Preston are seniors and are taking advantage of their senior season by wrestling very well and providing senior leadership,” Carpenter said.

The Kernels will have the services of junior 285-pounder Robert McCardle today, who has fought through injuries and is 3-1 this season.

Tyson Sprinkle is also having a strong season for Mitchell, with a 10-2 record and is ranked 11th at 195 pounds.

Other Kernel wrestlers with winning records include, Trey Hohn (12-6) at 132, Landon Neugebauer (6-5) at 138, Ethan Parr (11-5) at 145 and Matt Larson (14-5) at 160.

Briggs Havlik is the only regular Mitchell wrestler with a sub-.500 record, but still has had a strong 6-7 showing thus far.