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Wrestling is the most individual team sport there ever was and ever will be. When a kid steps on the mat during a team dual, he knows his match can easily sway the entire outcome of the team score by avoiding a pin or working for the major instead of a decision. So why is the state wrestling team title won by the most successful individuals at the state tournament?
AVON -- Avon's Matt Dykstra stepped on the basketball court for the first time this season last Friday and made his presence known. The towering 6-foot-7 center, who signed to play with Dakota Wesleyan's basketball team next year, was sidelined for most of the season after a shoulder injury in the Pirates' 9A state football championship game. He returned to action Friday night off the bench against Freeman, scoring 31 points and hauling in 10 rebounds, both team highs. "I didn't really know what to expect," said Dykstra, who has played varsity basketball since the eighth grade.
MILLER -- Wagner's 215-pound Mavrick Hill walked on the mat as the last Red Raider wrestler Saturday in Miller at the 3B Regional tournament. He was in the title match, and with his team neck-and-neck with Burke/Gregory, he knew he had to get a win. During the second period of Hill's match, Burke/Gergory's Brock Sinclair pinned Jacob Andersen of Lyman. Sinclair also was the last wrestler for B/G, which was down only 5½ points after the 171-pound weight class. Hill, the only senior on Wagner's roster and ranked No.
Good luck to any 160-pound wrestler in Region 3B today whose name is isn't Robert Kokesh, Josh Schieffer or Zane Nightingale. The top three 160-pound wrestlers in Class B will all be in attendance in Miller today at the Region 3B tournament, and only the top four place-winners get to the state finals. Providing there isn't a major upset during the day, after those three, that leaves only one place available to get to Aberdeen. Kokesh, the No. 1-ranked, undefeated wrestler from Wagner, is easily the favorite to win the district and state titles.
On a night set aside for seniors, Mitchell senior Brett Young dropped 29 points on Yankton. He finished 5-of-5 from behind the arc, 8-of-8 from the free-throw line and jump started the Kernel offense with 18 points before the half. Young and Mitchell snapped Yankton's three-game win streak Friday night at the Corn Palace, 62-51, and wrapped up a first-round home district playoff game in the process. "Brett's a good shooter," Kernels head coach Gary Munsen said.
Mitchell wrestler Justin Greenway set a goal for himself this season, and he's sticking to it. Despite missing almost the entire season with a cast on his broken leg, the 135-pound freshman said still hopes to place in the state tournament next weekend now that he's returned to the mat healthy. First, he has to get through Saturday's regional tournament. On Dec. 6, the Kernels were at the Watertown tournament, and in an overtime match against Aberdeen Central's Lance Habeck, Greenway broke his leg near the edge of the mat, handing him his only loss to date this season.
When I moved to South Dakota in August, one of the top things I was excited about is the state's hunting -- especially how it's almost year-round here. Saturday morning marked the opening of the annual spring light goose hunting season, and from talking with local GF&P Conservation Officer Andy Peterson, a few flocks are starting to make their way through the area.
The Mitchell girls' basketball team picked up a moral victory Tuesday night, as it stuck with No. 4-ranked Watertown until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. But Kernels head coach Wes Morgan said moral victories only go so far. The seven seniors on the Kernels roster played their final game for Mitchell in the Corn Palace on senior night, losing 56-44 to Watertown. "Moral victories are moral victories, but this team really needs a win," Morgan said.
PRESHO -- Lyman heavyweight wrestler Skyler Eriksen started his quest for a state title on Saturday by winning the District 6B heavyweight championship. While doing so, he helped the Raiders win the team title by only nine and a half points over Kimball/White Lake. The No. 2-ranked Class B wrestler pinned both of his opponents in the first period, including Jordan Frost of Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Ethan in the finals, and the final six team points helped Lyman seal the team victory.
For about a 10-minute stretch in the second half, the hoop was the size of a golf hole for the Mitchell girls' basketball team Friday night against Huron. After the Kernels shut down Huron for only four first-quarter points, the Tigers rallied from the third quarter on -- including an 18-2 run in the second half -- to pull away from the Kernels 56-44 Friday night at the Corn Palace. "Things that happened for us tonight are very uncharacteristic for us, and we just ran into a cold spell," Kernels' head coach Wes Morgan said.