Roughly 500 youth wrestlers funneled into Mitchell Saturday morning to compete in the South Dakota Wrestling Coaches Association Region 3 AAU tournament at the Corn Palace.
In his last year as head coach for the Mitchell High School wrestling program, Travis Carpenter said it will go down as a memorable tournament.
“Even though I’m going to be trying something new next year, I’m going to be involved in this for quite some time, so I’m not going anywhere for this tournament,” he said.
Carpenter emphasized the importance of youth wrestling, and what it does for the sport’s future.
“Youth programs are the lifeblood of wrestling, and that’s the future of your programs,” Carpenter said. “These young kids take great pride in AAU wrestling, and it’s a great environment to be a part of.”
Mitchell’s rich history of wrestling plays a major factor in hosting the youth tournament each year, and Carpenter said it wouldn’t be possible without former wrestlers volunteering their time to referee and manage the scoring tables.
“Our support group and wrestling parents in Mitchell are just great every year. We have great community support,” Carpenter said, noting that roughly 68 volunteers stepped forward to host the event this year.
On the mat, Mitchell’s youth fared well with six first place winners in their respective age groups and weight classes. Mitchell’s Samari Wright, Rocky Clark Jr., Spencer Eldeen, Kaileb Hubbard, Beau Foote and Frances Kranz, all wrestled their way to a first place finish and a trip to the state tournament.
The top three place winners in each weight class for each age group qualified for the state tournament, which will take place March 16-17 in Brookings. However, the top four winners in the boys novice division qualified for the state tournament.
There are a total of 25 schools among South Dakota’s Region 3 AAU wrestling. The boys division featured five groups broken down by age and weight class, while the girls division had three.
The final division for the SDWCA tournament was boys and girls freestyle, which was the cadets (born in 2004 and 2003).
Individual results for Mitchell (youngest to oldest):
Tots 43: fifth, Paxton Harris. Tots 49: fourth, Kaizen Brooks. Tots 53: fourth, Ryken Davis.
Bantam 50: fourth, James Klinger. Bantam 53: third, Colt Evenson. Bantam 57: fourth, Titus Sevigny. Bantam 76: sixth, Harrison VanDover. Bantam Heavyweight: fifth, Tyson Podhradsky.
Midgets 50: third, Gavin Herseth. Midgets 72: third, Carson Kampshoff; fourth, Noah Bennett. Midgets 77: sixth, Blaze Sevigny. Midgets 96: first, Samari Wright. Midgets 104: sixth, Tucker Podhradsky. Midgets 113: sixth, Garrett Dumas.
Novice 60: fourth, Kale Hofer. Novice 77: fourth, Van Johnson. Novice 87: fifth, Van Long. Novice 93: sixth, Kaiden Allen. Novice 127: fourth, Sean Foote. Novice 150: first, Rocky Clark Jr.
Schoolboy 70: second, Dax Gukeisen. Schoolboy 95: sixth, Colton Blow. Schoolboy 150: third, Mason Herman. Schoolboy 160: second, Connor Degen. Schoolboy heavyweight: second, Brok Ellwein.
Cadets 106: first, Spencer Eldeen. Cadets 120: first, Kaileb Hubbard. Cadets 132: third, Trent Beintema. Cadets 132: second, Quincy Young. Cadets 145: third, Tyson Degen. Cadet 220: first, Beau Foote. Cadets 285: second, Carson Podhradsky.
Girls B 65 (grades third-fifth): first, Frances Kranz.