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Kernels take sixth at ESD; Cersosimo places second

Mitchell seventh-grader Jacob Cersosimo returns a shot to his opponent during the championship match at No. 6 singles Friday at the ESD Conference meet in Yankton. Cersosimo took second to lead the Kernels, who finished sixth overall. (Photo courtesy of Linda McEntee)

YANKTON -- Mitchell seventh-grader Jacob Cersosimo took second Friday to lead the Kernels at the Eastern South Dakota Conference meet in Yankton.

Cersosimo, Mitchell's No. 6 singles player, picked up a 10-7 win over Watertown senior Greg Jensen in the semifinals before falling 10-4 to Yankton's Lucas Rockne in the championship match.

"(Cersosimo) had a very nice win against Watertown," Mitchell coach Gayle Klein said. "Watertown threw every tactic they could at him; it was mentally exhausting for him, and he survived the challenge."

Cersosimo's runner-up finish was a highlight for the Kernels, who finished sixth at the eight-team meet with 84 points. Watertown ran away with the title with 328 points and Pierre was second with 263. Yankton took third, Brookings fourth and Aberdeen Central rounded out the top five.

"We have a lot of kids who just experienced their first ESD tournament, and on one of the first hot days of the season, it was a physically challenging day," Klein said. "It was especially challenging for the person who had to serve on the side (facing the sun). You had to adjust your toss."

Other top-five singles finishes for Mitchell were Tyler Osterloo at No. 1 singles and Taylor Moore at No. 4 singles. Osterloo, who has been battling allergies all spring, fell to a Brookings opponent in the semifinals and an Aberdeen opponent in the third-place match.

Moore beat Aberdeen's Ethan Case 8-4 in the consolation championship.

"Flight one, that is the elite of the elite group," Klein said of Osterloo's day. "It was a challenging day for him physically. He hasn't had enough matches to get his legs in shape for a grueling day like this.

"(Moore) really tried to work on attacking the net in his singles and being more aggressive."

The No. 1 doubles teams also finished in the top five. The duo of Osterloo and Jesse Gebel finished in fourth after dropping an 8-3 match to Aberdeen in the third-place match.

Also for Mitchell, Tyler McEntee took sixth at No. 2 singles and Gebel and Tate Crago went 0-2 at No. 3 and 5 singles, respectively. The No. 3 doubles team of Cersosimo and Jade Miller lost in the consolation semifinals. The No. 2 doubles team of McEntee and Moore took sixth.

Up next for the Kernels is the state meet, which runs Thursday through next Saturday in Rapid City.

"This has been a really strange season because of all the rainouts," Klein said. "A lot of kids haven't played the number of matches we've usually played by now. We've played 14 matches compared to, in the past, we should have had around 20."