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Rew wins state title, Kernels finish 10th

Mitchell junior Ellie Rew, right, over a hurdle in the girls 100-meter hurdles at the Class AA state track and field meet Saturday at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls. Also pictured is Yankton's Hailey Luken, left. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

SIOUX FALLS -- The Mitchell girls track team brought a limited group to the Class AA state track and field meet but came away with several strong performances, including one state champion.

Junior Ellie Rew captured her first state track title with a win in the 100-meter hurdles Saturday at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls. As a team, the Kernels finished 10th with 37.5 points. Rapid City Stevens won the girls team state championship with 101 points.

Rew let a smile out as she crossed the finish line after she cleared the final hurdle to win her first track and field state title in a time of 14.89 seconds. Her time was good enough to earn the meet's gold medal for the event, which is given to the athlete with the best time across all three classes.

"This is the best feeling in the world after all the hard work I've put in," Rew said. "This is a step that I wanted to get over."

The win was the first for a Mitchell girl at the state meet since 2009, when Caitlin Way won the discus throw.

Mitchell coach Geoff Gross said Rew took her performances to another level last May and was running strong heading into the 2013 girls state meet, but hit a hurdle in the middle of the race and ended up placing eighth.

"Ellie stepped up when it mattered most," Gross said. "When she had the lead after the fourth hurdle, it was just a matter of running a clean race and there is no one better in the state right now doing that."

Rew, who was a member of the 2014 Mitchell state champion gymnastics team, also competed in the finals of the 300-meter hurdles Saturday where she placed eighth in a time of 47.58.

"Ellie is not the fastest hurdler or the strongest hurdler, but if you give her the lead she is going to hang onto it," Gross said. "She has worked hard on her starts and is going to run a clean race nine times out of 10."

The only other event to include a Mitchell athlete Saturday was the girls shot put, where a pair of Kernels made the podium.

Junior Abby Sudbeck placed seventh with a throw of 36 feet, 9 inches, after placing fifth in the event last year. Sudbeck took third in the discus for the Kernels Friday.

Senior Shelly Iburg placed at the state meet for the first time, taking eighth in the shot put with a toss of 36-5.75.

"It's everybody's goal to get on the podium at state," Iburg said. "Abby definitely pushes me and makes me better at the meets and in practice."

Iburg made the finals after a personal-best throw in the preliminaries, which she improved upon in the finals.

Gross said he had hoped to see his girls team finish with around 40 points at the meet, and was disappointed for some of his senior runners -- Emma Schmidt, Amy Gaetze and Kara Hanson -- who did not get to compete Saturday after missing out on the finals in Friday's preliminaries.

In total, the Kernel girls placed seven times. Friday, Tevyn Waddell took third in the pole vault and fifth in high jump, and Taylor Volesky placed fifth in the long jump and triple jump for the Kernels, to go along with Sudbeck's third place in the discus.

The Mitchell boys did not have an athlete compete on the final day of the state meet. The Kernels got their two team points from Ben Prill's seventh-place finish in the triple jump Friday. Sioux Falls Lincoln won the boys title with 118 points.

NOTES: Pierre sophomore Cortney Dowling broke two records -- the Class AA girls 200- and 400-meter dashes -- that had been held by Mitchell's Jill Theeler since 1997. Dowling set the new 200-meter mark of 24.67 seconds in the preliminary round Friday and broke the 400 record with her finals run of 55.11 seconds Saturday. ... Mitchell native Don McLean was awarded the track and field official of the year award by the National Federation Official Association.