The Quick Hitter: Mitchell's gymnastics prowess remains a marvel
Watch the Mitchell High School gymnastics team on the balance beam.
And then watch them on the vault and the uneven bars, on the floor exercise.
Watch the Kernel gymnasts do their routines and regularly rack up the 9-point-plus scores. They win state championships and fill out the individual award stand, like it's no big deal.
But watch the other teams they're going against and it quickly becomes clear: it is a big deal. The Kernels are the model of consistency, not just in gymnastics but for all high school sports in the state. On Friday, Mitchell won its fourth state team championship in five seasons and sixth in the last 11 years.
At the state meet in Watertown, onlookers would ask about Mitchell. How is that team so good or what's their story?
The main response was regarding Mitchell's depth, with five or six gymnasts capable of competing in every event and some event specialists that can supplement their teammates. In the run-up to the state meet, we wrote about the diversity of Mitchell's lineup from seventh graders up to juniors and seniors and how well it all fits together.
A few weeks ago, Mitchell coach Audra Rew made a comment that I've thought about in the past, saying that the Kernels' fourth or fifth-best gymnasts would be No. 1 on most other Class AA teams. The fact that there's not impeding egos on the team and everyone can pull in the same direction is another impressive aspect. The team's success is the most important thing every time Mitchell's steps into the gym.
Every sport in Mitchell wants an ardent youth program but currently, there's nothing like what Mitchell gymnastics has right now. With the MEGA youth program and scores of girls who want to be part of the team's success, it can only be admired.
Watching the scores on Fridays and Saturdays, there were scores in the 6.0 and 7.0 range, a reminder of how difficult some of these events are. Mitchell makes scores around 9.0 so routine and look so easy.
It's hard to think about dynasties in high school sports because teams and kids are always changing.
But at the same time, Mitchell gymnastics doesn't appear to be going anywhere.