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MHS wrestling team seeking podium spot

Mitchell's Carson Max, right, wrestles Howard's Evan Kizer, left, during a 195-pound match at the Jerry Opbroek Invite earlier this year at Mitchell High School. (Eric Mayer / Republic)

All season long, the collective goal for the Mitchell High School wrestling team has been to finish on the podium at the state tournament.

Ten Kernel grapplers will try to accomplish that goal as the Class A state meet begins at 10 a.m. today and continues on Saturday at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls. Teams that finish in sixth place or higher at the state meet receive team trophies.

Competing for Mitchell will be Kyler Bauder (120 pounds), Ryan McGinnis (126), Logan Sparks (132), Cole Gehrke (138), Sutton Carpenter (145), Briggs Havlik (160), Max Schoenfelder (170), Carter Max (182), Carson Max (195) and Beau Foote (220).

The last time the Kernels placed as a team at the state meet was fifth place in 2012. To earn a top-six finish at the state meet, MHS head coach Travis Carpenter knows exactly what it'll take from his group.

"We need seven of those kids to place and we need to put as many in the finals as we can," Carpenter said. "We can't have seventh and eighth placers, they have to get up into that top-five to make it happen. We are capable of making that happen."

Entering the meet, Mitchell has two wrestlers—Havlik and Carson Max—listed as the top seeds in their respective weight classes. Max took third place last year, while Havlik finished sixth at 152 pounds. This year, Havlik has compiled a record of 35-3, while Max is 28-3.

"It's one match at a time," Carpenter said about Havlik and Max. "In the state tournament, when you start overlooking somebody, that's when you get beat."

Five other Kernels—Bauder, Sparks, Gehrke, Sutton Carpenter and Schoenfelder—are each returning to the state tournament for the second straight season. McGinnis, Carter Max and Foote are competing in their first state meet.

"We're going to have to really wrestle well because a lot of us didn't get a seed," Schoenfelder said. "We've been going back to the fundamentals and working on staying in position during our matches, so we can win different situations."

Coach Carpenter added his team can build off its performance in the Region 3A meet, where Mitchell had five wrestlers reach the championship match. Sparks and Sutton Carpenter were two Kernels who reached the region finals and have entered the postseason in top form.

"There's been improvement over the year," Carpenter said. "When Logan believes, he can beat just about anybody. Sutton has finally got a full year of wrestling under his belt. He's got 43 matches this year and that makes a big difference."

Chamberlain sending eight Cubs to state

Chamberlain will be sending eight wrestlers to the state tournament, headlined by defending heavyweight champion Nash Hutmacher (42-0). Also competing for the Cubs will be Gabe Skustad (106), Max Donovan (113), Collin Powell (120), Cody Skustad (126), Dilen Anderson (132), Jett Evans (152) and Ruger Forester (220).

Donovan is seeded second with a record of 41-4, while Powell is the three seed with a record of 34-3.