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Golden Eagles outlast Kernels

Mitchell's Carter Max, left, wrestles with Aberdeen Central's Alex Hopfinger during an Eastern South Dakota Conference dual on Thursday at the Mitchell High School gym. (Eric Mayer / Republic)

In an Eastern South Dakota Conference dual, the Mitchell High School wrestling team was able to take last year's Class A runner-up down to the wire.

The Kernels couldn't overcome a 15-point deficit in the final five matches and ended up falling to Aberdeen Central 36-28 on Thursday at the MHS gym. Five Kernels—Brock Sparks (106 pounds), Kyler Bauder (120), Ryan McGinnis (132), Briggs Havlik (170), Carter Max (195) and Carson Max (220) picked up wins over the Golden Eagles. Mitchell, which beat Aberdeen 33-32 at the Watertown Invite on Dec. 2, had two open weight classes (126 and 160).

"Our effort was outstanding. There were a couple different little breaks that didn't go our way," MHS head coach Travis Carpenter said. "We got every matchup we wanted all night long. We lost by eight points, but I can find 10 or 11 points out there pretty easy. We know we're right there."

After Carson Max pinned Aberdeen's Noah Fullmer in 1 minute, 17 seconds, Mitchell needed six points going into the final match. At 285 pounds, Mitch Schladweiler was able to knock Aberdeen's Kaden Johnson to the mat, providing one of the loudest roars of the night from the large crowd. But Johnson was able to fend off any Mitchell comeback and defeated Schladweiler 8-2.

"He's the No. 2 kid in the state and Mitch went out and wrestled great," Carpenter said about the final match. "He can wrestle every kid in the state like that and start winning those matches."

It was the strong start by the Kernels in the smaller weight classes that helped Mitchell stay within striking distance of Aberdeen throughout the night. Sparks, an eighth-grader, earned a 3-0 decision to start the contest. Blake Stange fell 7-3 at 113 pounds, but pins from Bauder (120) and McGinnis (132) put Mitchell up 15-9 early on.

"They are a tough team and we knew we needed every point," Aberdeen head coach Donnie Bowden said. "If one match would've went the other way, it would've been there's. We just got the better of it tonight."

Bowden pointed to Garrett Mitzel's pinfall victory over Cole Gehrke at 138 pounds, as one his team's biggest wins of the night. Mitzel's win tied the dual at 15 before Aberdeen railed off three straight wins, one by forfeit as Carpenter elected to wrestle Havlik at 170 pounds avoiding Aberdeen standout Collin Haar.

"It was a matchup decision. If I put him there, then I'm worried I'm not going to win the four matches that I needed to win," Carpenter said about moving Havlik to 170 pounds. "You can go back and second guess all sorts of stuff, but you can't second guess the kids' effort."

Havlik ended up earning a 14-6 major decision, but Max Schoenfelder fell 7-2 to Brock Baker before Carter Max earned a 7-1 victory over Alex Hopfinger.

"We've come a long ways but we want to keep going forward," Carter Max said. "We're making each other better. We have to wrestle for the team and we got to look for those extra points and we missed those in a few matches."

Mitchell competes in the Sioux Falls Washington Invite on Saturday in Sioux Falls.

Aberdeen Central 36, Mitchell 28

Thursday in Mitchell

106: Brock Sparks (M) over Paul Jarrott (AC) (Dec 3-0) 113: Brenden Salfrank (AC) over Blake Stange (M) (Dec 7-3) 120: Kyler Bauder (M) over Ethan Allen (AC) (Fall 5:21) 126: Jacob Moore (AC) win by forfeit; 132: Ryan McGinnis (M) over Michael Fugman (AC) (Fall 1:17) 138: Garrett Mitzel (AC) over Cole Gehrke (M) (Fall 4:26) 145: Austin Cihak (AC) over Sutton Carpenter (M) (Dec 7-4) 152: Will Jarrott (AC) over Matthew Lambert (M) (Fall 1:24) 160: Collin Haar (AC) win by forfeit; 170: Briggs Havlik (M) over Dillon Stoebner (AC) (MD 14-6) 182: Brock Baker (AC) over Max Schoenfelder (M) (Dec 7-2) 195: Carter Max (M) over Alex Hopfinger (AC) (Dec 7-1) 220: Carson Max (M) over Noah Fullmer (AC) (Fall 1:17) 285: Kaden Johnson (AC) over Mitch Schladweiler (M) (Dec 8-2)