Mitchell girls top sports stories of 2013
The past year was full of passionate sports moments from championships to defeats and new coaches to state records.
Perhaps one of the biggest rollercoaster seasons was that of the Mitchell High School girls’ basketball team, making its mark among the 2013 headlines and being named the top local/area sports story of 2013 by The Daily Republic’s sports staff.
The Kernels came into the 2012-13 season as the top-ranked team in Class AA girls’ basketball and after convincing wins and upset losses, Mitchell landed in the state tournament as the defending state champions and third seed.
The Kernels eased their way into the championship game, beating No. 6 Rapid City Central in the opening round and No. 2 Sioux Falls Washington in the semifinals. It was the second straight year Mitchell made a state championship appearance under head coach Wes Morgan.
Yet, Mitchell was stalled offensively in the championship game despite having two Division I-level players in Kerri Young and Macy Miller. The defending champion Kernels fell to No. 5 Sioux Falls Lincoln 51-36 in the title game, finishing runner-up with a 22-4 overall record.
Young, a freshman for the South Dakota State University women’s basketball team, averaged 16.6 points per game and became the school’s all-time leading career scorer with 1,760 points in her final season with the Kernels. Miller, a senior this season and SDSU signee, averaged 19 points as a junior, crossed the 1,000-point career mark and broke Mitchell’s single-season scoring record for girls’ basketball with 493 points.
Following are the rest of the top 10 local/area sports stories of 2013 as voted on by The Daily Republic’s sports staff.
2. Parkston breaks state wrestling record.
The Parkston wrestling team made history last season, breaking the all-time scoring mark en route to winning the Class B state wrestling title. Parkston scored 164 points to break Redfield’s 157-point record, which was set in 1981.
Parkston had two individual champions and 10 wrestlers place in the top seven. Blake Bietz won the 113-pound title, while Brady Reiff won the 220-pound crown.
The Trojans failed to win a tournament only once during the 2012-13 season, taking second at the Jerry Opbroek Invitational to Class A’s Pierre.
Parkston head coach Jared Digmann was also named South Dakota High School Coaches Association’s wrestling coach of the year in 2013.
3. Pirates, Seahawks crowned champions.
The Avon and Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan football teams brought home state football titles from Vermillion’s DakotaDome in November.
With the help of a late touchdown and an interception, the No. 2 Pirates (11-0) defeated No. 1 Hamlin 24-22 to win the Class 9B title. It was Avon’s fifth state football championship. Avon’s Devin Tolsma was named the Most Valuable Player of the title game with 94 rushing yards, a TD and 16 tackles.
The No. 4 Seahawks, who won their third title in four years, beat No. 2 Arlington 36-6 to claim the Class 9AA crown. Wade Miller was named the MVP with 107 rushing yards, 54 receiving yards and three TDs.
4. Angels win first-ever amateur title.
The Alexandria Angels won their first-ever Class B amateur baseball championship in August.
Alexandria also won the District 5 tournament and topped Flandreau, Groton, Larchwood, 2012 champion Parkston Mudcats and Winner/Colome en route to the state amateur crown.
The Angels, who were the top-ranked team all season, had a come-from-behind victory over Winner/Colome in the championship game. Pitcher Tyson Gau hit a walk-off single to lift Alexandria to a 4-3 win.
The Angels (27-3) had two players named to the Class B state all-tournament team in Gau and pitcher Trever Vermeulen.
5. DWU football makes history.
The Dakota Wesleyan University football team had one of the school’s best seasons. The Tigers finished 8-3 overall and 7-2 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, marking the third time in the program’s history a DWU team has won eight or more games in a season. The other two were in 1992 and 1976.
DWU finished third in the conference and No. 20 in the NAIA, finishing on a four-game win streak and winning seven of its last eight under second-year head coach Ross Cimpl. Cimpl was named the GPAC coach of the year and is nominated for the AFCA coach of the year, which will be announced Jan. 14.
Junior running back Francois Barnaud finished second in the NAIA in total rushing with 1,893 yards, which is a school record for rushing yards in a season. Barnaud, senior wide receiver Anthony Muilenburg and sophomore linebacker Brady Bonte were all-GPAC first-team selections, and 11 other Tigers also earned all-GPAC accolades. Muilenburg was also selected as an AFCA All-American.
6. Mitchell boys miss state, Young resigns.
Under first-year coach Tom Young, the Mitchell High School boys’ basketball team missed the Class AA state tournament for the first time since the 2001-02 season, recording a 5-17 record.
Young took over after former coach Gary Munsen retired after 39 years with the Kernels. Young resigned after just one season with Mitchell and current coach Erik Skoglund was hired as the new face of Kernel basketball.
The Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball head position was also passed from one coach to another. Shane Murphy resigned after three years with the program, and Matt Wilber was hired to head the program in July.
7. Mike Miller, Heat win second straight NBA title.
Mike Miller, a Mitchell native, helped the Miami Heat repeat as NBA champions in June. The Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 in Game 7.
Some of the 33-year-old guard/forward’s highlights of the series were starting in four of the seven games in the NBA Finals and hitting a 3-pointer with one shoe on to help the Heat to a come-from-behind victory in Game 6.
In July, Miami used the amnesty provision on Miller. Two weeks later, he agreed to a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. Miller spent parts of six seasons with Memphis from 2003 through 2008.
8. Chad Greenway selected to Pro Bowl.
Minnesota Vikings linebacker and Mount Vernon native Chad Greenway was a Pro Bowl selection for the second straight year.
Greenway was added to the NFC Pro Bowl team as an injury replacement for DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys. In the 2012-13 season, the NFL credited Greenway with 148 tackles, third best in the league. He led the Vikings in tackles for the fifth straight year and had seven tackles for a loss, three sacks, two fumble recoveries and one interception.
9. Winner volleyball makes first state championship appearance.
The Winner volleyball team made its first-ever appearance in the Class A championship match in November. The Warriors (27-4) upset No. 1 Belle Fourche in the semifinals after coming back from two sets down to advance to the championship.
In the title match, Dakota Valley topped Winner 25-21, 27-25, 22-25, 25-17.
Winner had three players — Lindsey Calhoon, Sara Husher and Cassidy Hanson — named to the Class A all-tournament team.
10. MAC expands with second sheet of ice.
A second sheet of ice was added to the Mitchell Activities Center in December. The project cost $2.8 million and construction began last spring.
The expansion was paid for with $2 million of the $13.9 million in bonds the city sold in December and January for various projects, along with $500,000 pledged by the Mitchell Skating and Hockey Association, and about $400,000 the city expects to raise through a business improvement district tax on the city’s hotels and motels.
The addition gives MSHA more ice time and allows for the organization to host more tournaments.