Young Kernel gymnasts headed to state meetThe Mitchell High School gymnastics team did not get a day off from practice this week.
By: Travis Mester, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell High School gymnastics team did not get a day off from practice this week.
Coach Audra Rew wanted it that way.
The young Kernels — the team has one junior and no seniors competing — instead used the week to prepare for the Class AA state gymnastics meet, which begins today in Watertown and finishes Saturday.
“I didn’t give the girls a day off this week and they looked fantastic on Saturday after regions,” said Rew, whose team won the Region 3AA meet last Friday in Aberdeen. “That’s the upside of having a young team; they mentally need to be here everyday, but their bodies recover quicker than older gymnasts.”
Team competition begins at 9 a.m. today and the individual portion starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Mitchell was led by a pair of eighth-graders at last week’s region competition, where it posted a team score of 138.325.
Rebecca Sadler won her first-career all-around competition. Sadler had competed in all four events at “a couple” meets all season, Rew said.“I got my highest beam score ever and I did good on bars,” Sadler said of her region meet. “It was a good day, I didn’t fall or anything.”
Fellow eighth-grader Emily Paulson won both the floor routine and balance beam competitions and finished second in the uneven parallel bars for Mitchell at regions. Paulson was second to Sadler in the all-around.
Rew said Paulson and Sadler have emerged as the team’s leaders in the all-around competition in the ladder stages of the season.
“Those two are going to be my consistent performers,” Rew said. “I know what they’re going to score on the different events. The ones that could really bump our score up are the third and fourth and fifth people on our team.
“Sometimes you can see nerves set in at the end of the year and I haven’t seen that this year at all. These girls don’t have huge expectations on themselves other than to just go out there and do the best they can.”
Sophomore Nicole Wittstruck also qualified in the all-around for her performance at regions.
Freshman Bailey Eidahl qualified in the vault and beam, eighth-grader Ellie Rew qualified in the bars and beam and seventh-grader Quinci Herll qualified in the bars and floor routine.
Other than Herll, all the other Mitchell gymnasts have competed at past state meets, which Paulson said can be a challenge to get ready for.
“You need to focus a lot more at the state meet than during the season,” Paulson said. “It’s harder going from team one day to individual the next on back to back days.”
Paulson said the team is not focused on a particular team score it would like to post this weekend.
The Kernels top team score of the season came in a Jan. 27 home triangular against Brookings and Madison, when they posted a 140.75.
Rew said Watertown, Brookings, Sioux Falls Roosevelt and Rapid City Central are the teams to beat this weekend in the team competition.
“I’d be excited to be fifth as a team,” Rew said. “I think that’d be a good spot for us.
“We just want our girls to conserve energy in warm-ups and not waste turns. You want to do what you do once, and do it well.”
NOTE: Mitchell junior Mercedes Geraets will be unable to compete this weekend. Geraets sprained her ankle in practice a few weeks ago.