Mitchell tennis in second at state after second round
RAPID CITY — Beau Brown and Kanin Nelson jumped in celebration after winning a three-set match Friday to advance to the No. 2 doubles championship.
The victory fist pumps displayed the fire the Kernels are taking into the final day of the state boys tennis tournament Saturday in Rapid City.
“All you can ask for is to have a shot on (today) and I think we’ve put ourselves in position,” Mitchell coach Pat Moller said. “The crowds were big (Friday), today they’ll be even bigger and the stakes will be higher. That’s what it’s all about and we’re excited to be a part of that.”
The Kernels, who will earn a medal at every flight, are one of four teams who are still in the running for the state team title. After two days of competition, Mitchell is in second place with 501.5 points. Sioux Falls Lincoln is leading with 524 points, while Sioux Falls O’Gorman is third with 491 and Sioux Falls Washington is fourth with 458 points. Play resumes at 8 a.m. Mountain Time today.
The Kernels went 6-1 in singles and 5-1 in doubles Friday.
“It’s crazy to be in this position with four teams battling it out for the championship,” Nelson, a sophomore, said. “Having your teammates have your back and fans cheering you on is something that’s great.”
Mitchell’s No. 3 doubles team — junior Brenden Lehr and freshman Jacob Dahme — also advanced to the state title match today, after beating Sioux Falls Washington in straight sets.
“That’s why they’ve put in all those hours is to get themselves in position to play a championship match,” Moller said.
The Kernels No. 1 doubles team — junior Jacob Cersosimo and sophomore Alex Hegg — and top seed in the tournament fell in the semifinals to Sioux Falls Lincoln. Cersosimo and Hegg will team up to play for third place against Sioux Falls Washington.
Mitchell had a strong showing in singles as five players advanced to today’s semifinal round. No. 2 Brown, a junior, No. 3 Hegg, No. 4 Nelson, No. 5 Lehr and No. 6 Gray Determan, a sophomore, are all playing for a spot in the finals.
Mitchell’s No. 1 singles player, Cersosimo, will challenge St. Thomas More’s Daniel Duffy for fifth place.
Moller said his team has played well throughout the tournament and is proud of of its effort.
“Every single one of them has contributed to our success so far and played well,” Moller said. “Our No. 1 doubles lost a tough match and they come over and are cheering for our No. 2 doubles. It’s an all-around team effort and it’s been almost 20 years since we’ve been in this position.”
Team totals — SF Lincoln 524; Mitchell 501.5; SF O’Gorman 491; SF Washington 458; RC Stevens 358; SF Roosevelt 288.5; Brandon Valley 252; Watertown 249.5; Aberdeen Central 226.5; St. Thomas More 191.5; Pierre 183; Yankton 172.5; Aberdeen Roncalli 159; Madison 142; Huron, 140; Brookings, 108; RC Central, 67; Vermillion, 15; Milbank, 6; Spearfish, 0.