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Standout sophomores: Bauder, McGinnis pushing each other on the mat

Mitchell's Ryan McGinnis wrestles during a dual against Huron earlier this season at Mitchell High School. (Eric Mayer/ Republic)1 / 2
Mitchell's Kyler Bauder wrestles during the Jerry Opbroek Invite earlier this season at Mitchell High School. (Eric Mayer/ Republic)2 / 2

Since kindergarten, Kyler Bauder and Ryan McGinnis have practiced against each other on the wrestling mat.

Now sophomores on the Mitchell High School wrestling team, Bauder and McGinnis are reaping the rewards — together. Almost mirror images of each other, Bauder and McGinnis have emerged as two of the Kernels' top grapplers this season.

It's come as no surprise for MHS head coach Travis Carpenter.

"They work hard, they are good kids, they are motivated and they love wrestling," Carpenter said. "They are willing to do whatever it takes."

Bauder, competing at 120 pounds, has the second-most wins on the team with a record of 28-12. He's also earned a team-high 191 match points and collected 147.5 team points in competitions this season. McGinnis wrestles one weight class above Bauder at 126 pounds and is 26-13 with 127 team points and 136 match points. Bauder has won 11 matches by pinfall, while McGinnis has nine pins.

"We have put in a lot of hard work in the room," said McGinnis, who like Bauder, placed fourth at the Yankton Invite on Saturday. "We always push each other pretty hard."

Bauder and McGinnis are two of three sophomores who compete on the varsity roster. The other is Colby Gillen. With nine freshmen and eighth-graders on the team, Bauder and McGinnis have not only helped each other improve, but they have helped the younger wrestlers, too.

"They push each other constantly," Carpenter said. "We'll put them with other kids and they push those kids. They are great leaders in the room."

McGinnis said the duo has wrestled with each other so much they know each other's next move. But he noted his wrestling skill set has improved because of his battles with Bauder.

"He's pretty good on top. He can ride me out, but that makes me better on bottom," McGinnis said. "I've improved on bottom and he's helped with that."

Last year, Bauder qualified for the Class A state tournament for the first time at 106 pounds, while McGinnis dealt with an injury most of season and fell short in the region tournament. Each has his eyes on reaching the state tournament this season. Both are ranked No. 7 in their respective weight classes in the latest Dakota Grappler Class A ranking.

"I want them on the podium," Carpenter said. "They are both capable as high as top three. We have to find a way to get ourselves in there. I think they've positioned themselves to get a seed in that state meet and keep climbing the ladder."

Along with his individual goals, McGinnis said he wants to help the Kernel team try and crack the top six and place at the state meet.

"It keeps getting better and better," McGinnis said about the team. "We are working pretty hard as a team. Hopefully we can make something happen."

Mitchell competes in a triangular with Watertown and Brandon Valley on Thursday in Brandon.