Mitchell High School entered Friday night's dual meet against Pierre looking to stay unbeaten in Eastern South Dakota Conference dual meets.
The Governors jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead after three matches, but the Kernels had been able to dig out of holes at various points during duals throughout the season and they got back-to-back decisions from Kyler Bauder and Ryan McGinnis to chop the lead in half.
This time, though, anytime Mitchell appeared to be mounting a comeback, Pierre had an answer. On multiple occasions, the Kernels appeared to have a match in hand, only for it to slip away in the blink of an eye, as the Governors came away with a 38-21 win.
"I could find 18 points to swing pretty quick," MHS head coach Travis Carpenter said. "There were a couple matches that we were winning. One of them we had a major and another we had a reversal to take a lead. If we finish off those, that's enough. Not only that, but we have to go out and get bonus points. We give up bonus points, so we have to go get bonus points."
With Mitchell trailing 17-6, Cole Gehrke wrestled Cade Hinkle at 145 pounds and it was a tight battle all the way through. Gehrke was on his way to a win, but gave up an escape with less than a minute left in the third period to tie the match at 4-4.
The senior did not want to settle for overtime, however, as Gehrke was able to pull off a reversal with two seconds remaining on the clock to cut into the Governor lead, 17-9, and give the Kernels a shot of adrenaline.
"We've wrestled (Hinkle) six times in three years and he's gotten the best of us most of the time," Carpenter said. "Cole wrestled a great match, jumpstarted us and got our kids believing."
Freshman Tucker Vilhauer shot out of the gates with a flurry to start the next match and nearly pinned Pierre's Lee Snyder within the first minute of the match.
Most of the first two periods were spent with Vilhauer firmly in control and he eventually built a 14-2 lead heading into the final frame. Midway through the third, though, Vilhauer gambled and Snyder capitalized with a takedown and was able to pin his shoulders to the mat to snuff out the Mitchell rally. Earlier in the night, Brandon Sparks came up with a reversal in the last minute of his match at 113 to take a one-point lead, but lost it with 10 seconds left on a reversal by Deegan Houska in a pair of matches that could have swung the meet in the opposite direction.
"I told the kids they have to understand how good they are, because they are, but I don't think they 100 percent believe just yet," Carpenter said. "When we get them believing and we get everybody healthy and on the mat, we're going to be a tough team to deal with."
Joe VanOverschelde and Carter Max both won by decision, while Beau Foote picked up a pin as the horn sounded to end the 285-pound match.
Mitchell hosts the Jerry Opbroek Invitational today, beginning at 10 a.m.
Pierre 38, Mitchell 21
106: Blake Judson (P) def. Brock Sparks (M) (Dec 7-0); 113: Deegan Houska (P) def. Brandon Sparks (M) (Dec 7-6); 120: Hayden Shaffer (P) def. Bryce Palmer (M) (Fall 1:34); 126: Kyler Bauder (M) def. Jace Bench-Bresher (P) (Dec 4-1); 132: Ryan McGinnis (M) def. Tyson Johnson (P) (Dec 4-2); 138: Jack Van Camp (P) def. Logan Sparks (M) (TF 19-4); 145: Cole Gehrke (M) def. Cade Hinkle (P) (Dec 6-4); 152: Lee Snyder (P) def. Tucker Vilhauer (M) (Fall 5:01); 160: Joe VanOverschelde (M) def. Jaret Clarke (P) (Dec 6-1); 170: Maguire Raske (P) def. Tate Ellwein (M) (TF 16-0); 182: Garrett Leesman (P) def. Max Schoenfelder (M) (MD 10-2); 195: Gage Gehring (P) def. Blake Fredericks (M) (Fall 2:10); 220: Carter Max (M) def. James Lees (P) (Dec 10-5); 285: Beau Foote (M) def. Preston Taylor (P) (Fall 6:00)