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Mitchell faces key stretch to start second period of season

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Mitchell's Tucker Vilhauer (top) pins Huron's Lucas Hofer during a 145-pound match in a dual meet on Dec. 19 in Mitchell. (Nick Sabato / Republic)

After a two-week layoff, the season begins to heat up for the Mitchell High School wrestling team in what it has dubbed ‘the second period.’

As the Kernels host Eastern South Dakota Conference foe Aberdeen Central in a dual at 4 p.m. on Saturday, there are less than two months remaining in the year and it comes in a key stretch of three conference duals in four days.

Mitchell had one conference dual in the first month of the season, but following the tilt with Aberdeen Central, it faces Harrisburg and Yankton in a triangular on Tuesday before another nine days off leading into the Jerry Opbroek Invitational on Jan. 18.

It gives the Kernels a chance to reevaluate prior to heading into the final run toward the postseason, which includes four more duals and four tournaments.
“December is the first period, January is the second period and February is the third period of the season,” MHS head coach Andy Everson said. “We’re starting the second period, this is where we have to push really hard to get our conditioning where it needs to be for the third period. This is where we need to improve for the (postseason).”

Mitchell last competed in an invitational at Sioux Falls Washington on Dec. 21, which preceded five days off for the Holiday break. The Kernels have three wrestlers with 10 wins thus far -- Kyler Bauder, Brock Sparks and Tyson Degen -- and three more with nine wins.

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Bauder, Sparks, Degen and Ryan McGinnis mark the only wrestlers on the team with fewer than five losses, however, so much of the time spent in practice recently has been allocated to positioning in critical situations.

“That’s our biggest issue right now,” Everson said. “We’re getting ourselves in positions where we can’t continue to wrestle. We’re getting ourselves in spots that we can move as well or as quickly as our opponents because of bad positioning. Just be in position all the time. Don’t ever get yourself in a position where we can’t move hard and fast.”

The 4-2 Kernels will not only look to improve individual seeding for the region and state tournaments, but they are also looking to qualify for the state dual tournament. And for the first time this season, Mitchell is slated to fill all 14 spots in the lineup against the Golden Eagles.

There has been a hole at 220 pounds all season, but Wyatt Winter has been cutting weight for the last two months to drop from 285 to 220. Winter began the year weighing 257 pounds and weighed in at 221 pounds earlier in the week.

He went 9-5 at heavyweight this year, but Everson believes slimming down should help his style flourish at the lighter weight.

“He’s a little shorter than most guys at heavyweight, but he’s always wrestled more like a smaller guy than a heavyweight,” Everson said. “He pushes some, but that’s not really his style. I think he’s going to be able to open up more, do some more shooting. I think it’s more his style than having to push with big guys and have upper-body ties.”

Related Topics: WRESTLING
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