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Mitchell takes third at Region 3A meet as 12 qualify for state

HURON--Leading up to Saturday's Region 3A tournament at Huron Arena, Mitchell High School wrestling coach Travis Carpenter told all of his wrestlers to plan on qualifying for the state tournament or don't make the trip.

Mitchell senior Max Schoenfelder shoots on Aberdeen Central's Brock Baker during a 182-pound match at the Region 3A meet on Saturday in Huron. (Nick Sabato / Republic)
Mitchell senior Max Schoenfelder shoots on Aberdeen Central's Brock Baker during a 182-pound match at the Region 3A meet on Saturday in Huron. (Nick Sabato / Republic)

HURON-Leading up to Saturday's Region 3A tournament at Huron Arena, Mitchell High School wrestling coach Travis Carpenter told all of his wrestlers to plan on qualifying for the state tournament or don't make the trip.

The Kernels were not able to advance all 14 entrees to the state tournament, but they came close, as 12 finished in the top four of their respective weight classes to move on to the South Dakota's pinnacle meet.

Meanwhile, last year's top three teams remained the same in the standings, with Mitchell placing third with 143 points. Pierre once again captured the championship with 198 points and Aberdeen Central was second with 162.

"We started a little slow, but it ended up working out," Carpenter said. "I thought our performance in the match to get in for places was very good. We bounced eight guys through during that round and we had some really big wins."

Four Kernels advanced to the finals, while two finished the day atop the podium. The top-ranked 220-pound wrestler in Class A-according to Dakota Grappler-Carter Max, lived up to his billing with a 10-4 decision in the semifinals and then recorded a 13-5 major decision victory over Pierre's James Lees in the finals.

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Fellow senior Cole Gehrke also won his weight class, atoning for a second-place finish a season ago. Gehrke advanced to the 145-pound finals with a pair of pins, and then won a 9-6 decision against Pierre's Cade Hinkle.

"(Gehrke) is wrestling well," Carpenter said. "We had split with the Pierre kid during the year. We beat him during the dual and we had the injury default in the Yankton tournament. That was a really good win for Cole. He's set up himself up (for the state tournament)."

Freshman Brock Sparks placed second after losing a decision to unbeaten Aberdeen Central junior Brenden Salfrank. Another freshman, Tucker Vilhauer, took second at 152 after dropping a decision to Huron's Tyson Lien, 12-6, in the finals.

Ryan McGinnis and Beau Foote placed third at 132 and 285, respectively. Brandon Sparks (113), Bryce Palmer (120), Logan Sparks (138), Joe VanOverschelde (160), Max Schoenfelder (182) and Blake Fredericks (195) all took fourth.

Chamberlain placed fourth in the team standings and saw seven grapplers qualify for the state meet. The Cubs had four finalists and three champions, headlined by Nash Hutmacher, who remained unbeaten as he continues his quest for a third consecutive 285-pound state championship.

Max Donovan is also seeking to repeat as state champion at 113, earning a pair of first-round pins to move on. Gabe Skustad also took first at 132, defeating Pierre's Tyson Johnson in overtime of the finals.

Collin Powell (126) placed second, while Trey Neilan (106) and Cody Skustad (138) each took third and Noah Hutmacher (152) finished fourth.

The Class A state tournament begins Friday in Rapid City.

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