Early weights send Kernels past Brookings in home finale
The middle of the wrestling lineup has been Mitchell High School’s strong suit all season, but four injuries left a gaping hole against Brookings on Thursday and a need for creativity.
The Kernels inserted two junior varsity wrestlers into the lineup, used some savvy maneuvering and received a big night from the lightweights to start the night.
Mitchell won four of the first five matches to take an 18-3 lead, but Brookings rallied to take the lead, only to surrender the win with back-to-back forfeits in the last two weights to give the Kernels a 36-29 Eastern South Dakota Conference win.
“I don’t like to put a lot of pressure on kids, but I told them, ‘I’m going to need you to come through with some bonus points,’” MHS head coach Andy Everson said. “(Early weights) were weights I thought we could get some majors and pins. We won by seven and got 18 points out of those four weight classes. They did exactly what we needed them to do.”
Brookings (2-5, 1-3 ESD) took a 3-0 lead to start the match, but Kaileb Hubbard erased the deficit with a 22-second pin at 113 pounds. Brock Sparks followed at 120 with a second-round pin of Brookings’ Joey Fitzpatrick with 3 minutes, 1 second elapsed, while twin brother Brandon scored a 10-6 decision over Cameron Girard at 126 pounds.
Kyler Bauder and Tyson Brandt dueled into overtime, but it was Bauder that grabbed a 3-1 lead with a takedown to give Mitchell (9-3, 5-0) the 15-point lead.
The Bobcats scored the next 15 points, but after winning the pre-dual coin toss, the Kernels earned the right to see who Brookings trotted out first in each match. Everson opted for a forfeit at 152 and sophomore Conner Thelen was pitted against Jaxon Bowes at 160 pounds.
Bowes came away with the win, but Thelen did his job by not allowing any bonus points in a 4-0 decision.
“Conner Thelen did an excellent job,” Everson said. “He’s a 145-pounder that we had weigh in at 160, because that’s what worked well for the team. We sent him out there to save points without giving up a forfeit and he did an awesome job.”
With the match tied, Tyson Degen stepped onto the mat knowing he had an advantage on Brookings’ Dillen Sheely at 170 pounds.
Degen started the match overaggressive, but quickly settled in and waited for a takedown opportunity, resulting in a 49-second pin.
“I came out a little wild,” Degen said. “I saw a shot and it gave me an opportunity to put the match away. As I got in on the shot, he was falling to his back and all I had to do was hold him there.”
Brookings scored the next 11 points, to take a one-point lead, but did not send out an opponent for Wyatt Winter at 220 or Beau Foote at 285.
Mitchell returns to action in the Les Tlustos Invitational on Saturday in Brookings.