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Brookings takes down Kernel wrestling in Senior Night dual

Ten seniors fill out MHS lineup in home finale

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Mitchell's Brock Sparks wrestles Brookings' Mason Mathis during a dual on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022 in the Mitchell High School gymnasium.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL -- With 10 seniors in the starting lineup on Thursday night, the Mitchell Kernel wrestling team was hoping for a successful sendoff to the Kernels’ home schedule.

It was not to be, as Brookings picked up the Eastern South Dakota Conference dual victory, 40-33 at the MHS Gym. The Bobcats won eight of 12 matches and overcame a pair of forfeits in the victory.

“Brookings has a solid team and they’re up and coming,” Mitchell coach Andy Everson said. “We knew this was going to be a tough one to get. It’s one of those deals where there were just too many bonus points given up again, too many bonus points and falls in the dual.”

Both teams got off to a quick start for the dual, starting at 220 pounds. James Olson, a top-five ranked wrestler in the 285-pound class, picked up a 33-second pin for the Bobcats over Mitchell’s Cordell Kunkel at 220. Olson was in the lineup instead of Luke Rasmussen, the state’s No. 1 wrestler at 220 pounds for Brookings. At 285 pounds, Mitchell’s Beau Foote earned a 16-second pin. It was Foote’s fourth pin in the month of January scored in fewer than 30 seconds and 15th overall, with the No. 2-ranked Foote picking up his 22nd win of the year in an undefeated season.

After a loss at 106 and a forfeit benefitting Mitchell’s Cruz Alhizer at 113, Nolan Miles and Luke DeRynck scored back-to-back Brookings victories at 120 and 126 pounds, with DeRynck earning a late pin over Mitchell’s Penn Long in their match.

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The extra three points for the team score put Mitchell Mitchell (8-7, 1-2 ESD) down, 21-12, but Brock Sparks provided a prompt answer for the Kernels, picking up a third-period pin over Mason Mathis at 132 pounds. Brock’s brother, Brandon, kept the momentum going with some late dramatics in his match at 138 pounds. Sparks trailed 7-6 in the third period before he scored a reversal with 30 seconds left and tallied three nearfall points at the final horn for an 11-7 win. A second Brookings forfeit of the night in Jagger Tyler’s slot at 145 put Mitchell ahead 27-21.

But Mitchell’s momentum ended there, with four straight wins for Brookings from 152 to 182 pounds. Joey Fitzpatrick had a decision, followed by Tyson Brandt and Jaxon Bowes each winning major decisions, followed by Israel Caldron earning a technical fall at 182 pounds.

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Mitchell's Joe VanOverschelde wrestles Brookings' Caleb Loehr during a dual on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022 in the Mitchell High School gymnasium.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic

The Kernels’ Joe Van Overschelde earned a 53-second pin at 195 pounds to close out the dual with a workmanlike victory. Van Overschelde improved to 14-1 on the season and he’s ranked No. 2 at the 182-pound weight class.

Everson commended his team’s flexibility in the lineup to allow all 10 seniors to get the varsity start, particularly mentioning Tucker Vilhauer, who wrestled up two weight classes on Thursday in order for everyone to get in the dual.

“We had some kids that were willing to move around weight classes and that was really important for the team,” Everson said. “We have a great group of seniors that mean a lot to our program.”

Both teams will be back on the same mats Saturday at the Les Tlustos Invitational at 10 a.m. at Brookings High School. The Kernels are back in dual action on Feb. 3 at Pierre.

Brookings 40, Mitchell 33

Dual -- Thursday at MHS

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220: James Olson (BRK) over Cordell Kunkel (MIT) (Fall 0:33)

285: Beau Foote (MITC) over Braeden Stadler (BRK) (Fall 0:16)

106: Tate Helmbolt (BRK) over Spencer Eldeen (MIT) (Dec 5-2)

113: Cruz Allhizer (MIT) by forfeit

120: Nolan Miles (BRK) over Kaileb Hubbard (MIT) (Fall 3:37)

126: Luke DeRynck (BRK) over Penn Long (MIT) (Fall 5:57)

132: Brock Sparks (MIT) over Mason Mathis (BRK) (Fall 4:50)

138: Brandon Sparks (MIT) over Gabriel Stern (BRK) (Dec 11-7)

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145: Jagger Tyler (MIT) by forfeit

152: Joey Fitzpatrick (BRK) over Riley McGinnis (MIT) (Fall 4:33)

160: Tyson Brandt (BRK) over Connor Thelen (MIT) (MD 10-2)

170: Jaxon Bowes (BRK) over Tucker Vilhauer (MIT) (MD 14-2)

182: Israel Caldron (BRK) over Kendell Fick (MIT) (TF 20-4 5:50)

195: Joe VanOverschelde (MIT) over Caleb Loehr (BRK) (Fall 0:53)

Junior varsity matches:

126: Spencer Christie (BRK) over Kaiden Allen (MIT) (Dec 5-0)

160: Cole Novotny (BRK) over Noah Gruenstein (MIT) (Fall 2:53)

120: Spencer Christie (BRK) over Van Long (MIT) (Dec 8-3)

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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