MHS gymnast to start seasonThe Mitchell High School gymnastics team opens its season today but will be without its top athlete.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell High School gymnastics team opens its season today but will be without its top athlete.
The Kernels’ top all-around performer, sophomore Rebecca Sadler, suffered a foot injury during preseason practices, which began Oct. 29. She will be out for six weeks.
Head coach Audra Rew, whose team competes against Yankton and Sioux Falls Washington at 6:30 p.m. today in Yankton, said Sadler hopefully will be ready to compete by the second half of the season.
“It’ll hurt us by not having her on bars,” said Rew, who is in her seventh season with the Kernels. “She’s a strong bar-worker, and it’ll hurt us by over 1.5 points by not having her in the lineup. The good news is bars will be her first event she gets back.”
Rew said her team has learned a lot of new skills over the offseason but won’t have a chance to compete them early in the season.
“With the loss of (Sadler), we’re looking at doing our routines clean and simpler,” she said. “We can’t afford to try out some of the new skills we’ve been working. I might play it safe at the beginning of the season with the hopes of adding some skills after that.”
The Kernels lost Kelsey Tagg to graduation and Bailey Eidahl from last season.
Freshman Quinci Herll is Mitchell’s only all-around athlete with Sadler out. Joining Sadler and Herll from last year’s state-tournament team are senior Nicole Wittstruck, sophomore Ellie Rew, freshman Emily Prill and eighth-grader Josie Dierks.
“(Wittstruck) is really solid and consistent for us on floor and vault,” Rew said. “She is an amazing beam worker when she sets her mind to it as well.”
Rew said a lot of younger gymnasts will be pushing for line-up spots, including seventh-graders Kayla Kerr and Bailey Roden.
“I’ve got a lot of kids that are more the same level, so it makes competition interesting in the gym,” she said. “These kids are all pushing each other.”
Rew said sophomore Taina Youngstrom and senior Nakkia Johnston, who took time off from the sport, have returned to the team.
“I’m anxious to see what they will add to the team competition-wise,” she said. “I think they can really help us in the floor lineup, which is where we’re weak.”
The Kernels finished in fifth place at the state tournament last season. Rew said she feels the team can improve.
“With the kids other teams lost and the improvements that we’ve made, I don’t think the gap is going to be as close as it was last year between third and fifth places,” she said.