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Kernels wrap up season with strong performances at Class AA state meet

(Kevin Pottebaum/Republic) Mitchell's Olivia Willis attempts to clear the bar during the high jump event at the Class AA state track and field meet Saturday in Rapid City.

RAPID CITY -- Jason Greenway led the charge for the Mitchell High School track and field team and the boys' team finished with 33 points for ninth place at the Class AA track and field meets Friday and Saturday in Sturgis and Rapid City.

Greenway won the 300-meter hurdles for the Kernels and had a few other solid finishes including a second-place finish in the long jump and he took third in the 100-meter dash.

Mitchell coach Geoff Gross was pleased with Greenway's performance along with many other competitors including Austin Loes, who took fifth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 50.47 seconds.

"He did a nice job," Gross said. "He moved up a couple spots from his qualifying time and that's a great credit to his determination."

After the boys' 1,600 relay team was disqualified during the preliminaries on Friday, Gross was upset with the event finals Saturday.

"I'm going to be bummed for quite a while on the mile relay," Gross said. "There was some contact in the finals that was very similar to ours and wasn't called. I'd like to see some consistency there on the decisions."

The 1,600 relay team had the second-best time in the state heading into the meet and Gross said he was excited to see the finals.

On the girls' side, three Mitchell relay teams took sixth place Saturday to help the team finish with 10 points taking 15th place.

"We had some hard situations to overcome but they were phenomenal," Gross said. "We had a lot of positives at the state meet that are going to be nice to build on for next year so that was exciting."

Five key contributors for the boys' team won't be returning for the Kernels because of graduation and the girls' team had four seniors who Gross said will be missed.

The seniors who ended their careers for Mitchell were Jason and Justin Greenway, Nick Kummer, Austin Loes, Jade Miller, Shelby Gunsch, Lexie Weier, Olivia Willis and Tara Palmer.

"We're going to be very young and it's going to be a new era," Gross said about the Kernels' squad for next season.