Mitchell gymnasts headed to Aberdeen for Region 3AA meet todayThe Mitchell High School gymnastics team has not been at full strength since junior Mercedes Geraets went down with an ankle injury two weeks ago.
By: Travis Mester, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell High School gymnastics team has not been at full strength since junior Mercedes Geraets went down with an ankle injury two weeks ago.
That did not stop the Kernels from posting their top team score of the season at their most recent meet, though.
And it has not wavered Mitchell’s confidence heading into today’s Region 3AA meet in Aberdeen.
“We really haven’t hit a meet yet this year where we haven’t taken any falls,” Mitchell coach Audra Rew said. “Even in our last meet, we took two falls, I think.
“All we need to do is complete the routines we do in practice. If we do that, our score will be great. And obviously, if Mercedes was competing and hit her routines too, our score would be even better, but you deal with life as it comes and that’s not an option.”
Geraets — who was one of Mitchell’s top all-around performers before spraining her left ankle in practice days before a Jan. 27 home meet — will not compete this weekend. Rew said she hopes Geraets will heal in time for the team competition at the state meet Feb. 19.
The Kernels posted a season-best score of 140.750 in their last meet, which was a triangular with Brookings and Watertown at Mitchell High School on Jan. 27. Mitchell was unable to attend the Eastern South Dakota Conference Meet in Aberdeen last weekend because of bad weather.
In the triangular against Brookings and Watertown, eighth-grader Ellie Rew led Mitchell’s all-around performers with a score of 35.400, which was good for a fourth-place finish.
The Kernels also got a strong performance from sophomore Nicole Wittstruck, who posted personal bests on the balance beam and the floor.
“I feel like the other girls have really stepped up, gotten excited and pulled together over our past few meets,” Rew said. “Maybe (Geraets’ injury) put a little pressure on them to understand that they had to step up and there was no slack.”
Wittstruck said her team has kept its composure better in the early stages of the season.
“I think we’re probably best as a team on the beam,” Wittstruck said. “We’re just really good at staying tight. We’re good at not getting nervous and, usually, we stay on.”
Rew said the team has avoided falls in recent meets and that is a big reason its score has improved.
Eighth-graders Emily Paulson and Rebecca Sadler tied for fifth in the all-around competition with scores of 35.350.
“I really feel like our team is all very similar,” Rew said. “Emily Paulson, in the beginning of the year, was one of our highest all-arounders. She’s struggled a little bit on vault, but we’re starting to get her vault back and she has the potential to score in the mid-9s on beam and floor.
“She has a little bit more difficulty on floor and beam, but she just has very clean lines. She’s flexible and she’s a very pretty gymnast.”
Sadler has improved to become one of Mitchell’s top all-around performers this season after competing in only two events last season.
The Kernels compete against Huron and Aberdeen today. In order for an individual to qualify for the state meet, one must record an all-around score of 33 or higher or finish in the top eight in an individual event.
Each team is eligible to have six gymnasts compete in each event and can qualify up to six in each event.
“We did get a 140, which is our best score, and we did it without one of our best gymnasts (Geraets), so I think we can do it,” freshman Bailey Eidahl said. “I think we know that a fall means a lot; we have been a lot more consistent lately.
“We’re most consistent with our floor routines and we have the hardest skills on floor so that will be important.”
The state gymnastics meet is scheduled for Feb. 18 and 19 in Watertown.