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Herrick takes second, Mitchell 10th at state

Mitchell’s Ethan Parr tries to get to his feet during a 145 third-place match against Sioux Falls Roosevelt’s Zach Determan Saturday at the Class A state wrestling tournament at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

RAPID CITY -- Alex Herrick tried to fight back the tears after dropping the final match of his career at Mitchell High School, but he couldn’t.

Perhaps it was the disappointment of losing to Vermillion’s Brett Bye in the Class A 152-pound finals, or maybe it was the realization that he had wrestled his final match as a Kernel.

But as Mitchell wrestling coach Travis Carpenter said shortly after Herrick lost the match 14-4 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, “Alex Herrick has nothing to be ashamed of.”

The senior wrestler battled his way through the tournament to reach the state championship and ignited his Mitchell squad to a 10th-place finish with 76 points. Herrick was simply overmatched by Bye, who took control of the match early with a quick takedown. With the win, Bye finished the season a perfect 48-0.

“It all started last week at regions. That is what got me a good spot,” Herrick said. “I worked hard and pushed myself to my limit. I didn’t do as well as I wanted to. Sometimes you don’t wrestle to your potential and I didn’t in that final match.”

Herrick’s journey began Friday with wins over Watertown’s Dylan Mitzel and Dakota Valley’s Brady Dam. Herrick continued in the first session Saturday with a 5-3 decision win over Rapid City Stevens’ Bailey Konvalin to earn his spot in the finals.

Saturday’s runner-up finish was Herrick’s best state tournament showing. His previous best was a fourth-place finish in 2012 as a sophomore.

“I know he is disappointed but what a great way for him to end his career,” Carpenter said. “I am really proud of him for finishing off his career as a state finalist.”

Five other Kernels wrestled Saturday and finished in the top six of their respective weight classes. Junior Landon Neugebauer (138) took third, junior Ethan Parr (145) took fourth, senior Tyson Sprinkel (195) took fifth and junior Matt Larson (160) finished sixth.

Neugebauer strung together a trio of one-point victories Saturday, highlighted by his last-second reversal to beat Peter Hansen, of Brookings, 2-1 in the third-place match. Sprinkel, who was Mitchell’s lone placer last year taking eighth, finished up his career with a 4-3 decision over Madison’s Tyler Currey to take fifth.

“We only had five in (the second day of the tournament), but the five that we had did a great job,” Carpenter said. “We had some kids with some great efforts. Landon Neugebauer coming back and taking third place. Ethan Parr bouncing his way all the way back into that third-place match. Tyson Sprinkel wrestled a great tournament for us and Matt Larson had a great season for us.”

Aberdeen Central won the Class A title with 177.50 points. The Golden Eagles had 12 state placers. Two-time defending state champion Pierre finished second with 147.50 points.