Sturgis wins Jerry Opbroek Invite; Mitchell's Reiner, Larson take first

Mitchell's No. 1-ranked 171-pound Jordan Reiner enjoyed his day Saturday at the Jerry Opbroek Invitational. Though, for a brief moment, it didn't look like Reiner would take home his first win at the highly competitive tournament.

(Luke Hagen/Republic)Mitchell's Jordan Reiner records a takedown against Winner's Steve Storms in the 171-pound semifinal match Saturday at the Jerry Opbroek Invitational in the Mitchell High School gymnasium. Reiner pinned Storms with 27 seconds remaining in the third period, and then he went on to win the 171-pound weight class

Mitchell's No. 1-ranked 171-pound Jordan Reiner enjoyed his day Saturday at the Jerry Opbroek Invitational. Though, for a brief moment, it didn't look like Reiner would take home his first win at the highly competitive tournament.

Reiner led 3-2 late in the title match against Sturgis' Clint Wilson, and with about 30 seconds remaining in the match, Wilson got deep on a single-leg, fighting for a takedown that would have given him the win.

Mitchell's senior did an impressive job holding off Wilson, but with about two seconds left, it seemed Wilson pulled his head out of a scramble to get the two points.

"I wasn't ready," Reiner said. "He came in and got deep on a shot. It was close, and it could have gone either way. But luckily, that one went my way."

Reiner said he wasn't sure which way the refs would go with the call while they conferred at the scorers table with both Mitchell head coach Travis Carpenter and Sturgis head coach Steve Keszler. Keszler sprinted to the scorer's table immediately as time ran out. Carpenter followed shortly behind.


After the tournament, Carpenter said he felt Reiner's match was one of the best of the day, and he knew that Wilson didn't finish the move to record the takedown.

After Reiner had his hand raised, fans of both Mitchell and Sturgis applauded and screamed after the match, making it possibly the top match with the most on the line during the tournament.

Reiner was one of two Kernel champions at the tournament. Junior Kyle Larson (215) defeated Wagner's Mavrick Hill 6-1 to win his weight class. Larson pinned his first opponent, defeated a Stevens' opponent 10-5 in the semifinals and then handily controlled Hill for the title.

"After I got that takedown in the first period, I felt like I was in control of the match," Larson said. "I did surprise myself a little bit. I was seeded two, and I knew I had a tough kid. But that first takedown really gave me a lot of confidence."

The Kernels finished in fourth place in the 10-team tournament. Sturgis, which won its fifth Jerry Opbroek in six years, led after every round. Sturgis finished with 192.5 team points, Stevens was well behind in second with 105.5 points and Wagner was third with 103 points.

Sturgis had four wrestlers take first place and had 12 wrestlers of 14 weights in the final round.

"Coach Keszler coaches perfection in the practice room, and he demands it on the mats," Howard coach Ken Ruml said. "They just keep coming at you, and they're just a level above everyone else in the state of South Dakota right now."

Added Keszler: "We work hard and step on the mat and stay in good position to win. The Mitchell tournament is always a great tournament to come to, and it's a nice little mix of variety and programs in one little gym."


Not surprisingly, Howard's middle weights had a strong day. Dan Noonan took first at 140 pounds. He is still undefeated on the season with a record of 22-0. Howard's 145-pound Francis Ruml won his weight class. He defeated Sturgis' Kyle Kopplin for the title, 7-5. Howard's Bradyn Neises lost in the finals to Class A's No. 1-ranked Jarrett Jensen of Stevens, 11-3.

"They're the nucleus of our team and do a lot of summer wrestling," Ruml said.

Wagner's Robert Kokesh (160) did something no other wrestler did on the day. He won the tournament for the third-consecutive year and kept his record undefeated at 29-0.

The No.1-ranked Class B junior, who has a chance to win his fourth-consecutive Jerry Opbroek next year, defeated Stevens' Kris Klapprodt 10-4 in the finals.

"It feels pretty good to win it again this year," Kokesh said. "I have a lot of confidence right now in the way I'm wrestling."

Kokesh wasn't the only Red Raider to win his weight class. Wagner 119-pounder Alex Kocer cruised through his weight class. He pinned his first two opponents, and then he recorded a tech fall in the finals over No.5-ranked Jarrick Jensen from Stevens.

Bon Homme, which finished in seventh place with 82 points, had its smaller weights do well. Ryan Kriz won the 112-pound weight class, and Jay Kriz took second at 103.

Winner had six wrestlers competing in the finals, but only one of them won. Jayd Docken (189), the No. 2-ranked Class A wrestler, defeated Sturgis' Jake Stygles 9-4 in the finals. The Warriors took sixth place behind fifth place Pierre. Parkston took ninth and McCook Central/Montrose finished in tenth.


Parkston had two wrestlers take second, Justin Thomas (112) and Kyle Boehmer (285), and McCook Central/Montrose's highest placers were Dominic Blindert at 140 and Cody Eichmann at 285.

After the first round, Mitchell was in second place, trailing Sturgis by only 1.5 points. The Kernels dropped to fourth after losing six semifinal matches.

Carpenter said he was happy overall with the way the team performed, but felt second place was within reach.

"We had a couple kids who should have placed, and if that happens we take second," Carpenter said. "The first round we wrestled really well, but in that round you're not up against the caliber of kids you see in the semifinals."

Despite losing numerous semifinals matches, Mitchell made up for it in the wrestle backs. Lakin Neugebauer (103) finished in third place after defeating Wagner's David Kocer 4-2, and Brent Havlik (145) grabbed third, as his eventual opponent from Pierre already had five matches, a mark any wrestler cannot exceed in one day.

Ryan Buck lost a close third place match 2-0 in the 140-pound weight class to Blindert, and 160-pound Austin Havlik lost to Parkston's Josh Schieffer 7-5 after Havlik tied the match at five late in the match. Schieffer got a reversal with about 15 seconds remaining in the third to win.

Mitchell's Jason Greenway was the top-ranked wrestler at 130 pounds, and he recorded his team's fastest pin of the day in his first round matchup at 52 seconds. Greenway lost 8-4 to Winner's Tyce Meyer in the semifinals.

Other Mitchell wrestlers were Skyler Neugebauer who lost his first two matches at 112, Nick Kummer (125) who pinned his first opponent, lost in the semifinals and again to Pierre's Jacob Wagoner, Steve Skinner (135) who lost his first two matches and Chance Parr at 152 pounds who lost his first match to Jensen, won his second match 12-4 and then was defeated 9-2 by Winner's Blake Burnham.


Notes: Chad Greenway was briefly in attendance at the Jerry Opbroek Invitational. Greenway made an appearance on the mat during an intermission before the finals.

It was announced that he donated $5,000 to the Mitchell High School wrestling team. The Kernels purchased brand new wrestling mats with the money, which will be in use on Friday when Mitchell hosts Brookings.

After meeting with Carpenter, Greenway walked off the mats back to the bleachers, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Greenway stayed in the gym for several minutes, signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.

Luke Hagen was promoted to editor of the Mitchell Republic in 2014. He has worked for the newspaper since 2008 and has covered sports, outdoors, education, features and breaking news. He can be reached at
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