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Kernel Gymnast compete in state team meet today

Mitchell's Quinci Herll performs a skill on the uneven bars during a high school gymnastics meet Feb. 7 in Mitchell. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

With the biggest meet of the season ahead, Audra Rew couldn't be happier with her team's rotation.

The Mitchell High School gymnastics team drew Olympic order or the home rotation -- vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor -- for the state gymnastics meet, which begins at 11 a.m. mountain time today at Rapid City Stevens High School.

The state meet will run differently this year as both Class AA and Class A teams compete simultaneously. The Kernels, who rotate with Class A's Wagner, open the meet in the first rotation and end the meet with two bye rotations.

"We love that order," Mitchell coach Rew said. "It's oing to be an eight-hour meet, so to get started right away and end early, I couldn't have asked for a better draw."

After a productive week in practice, the Kernels had a practice session on the state meet site Thursday afternoon.

"You always feel a little bit of nerves in the last few practices before the biggest meet of the year," Rew said. "But (Thursday) they looked fantastic. I just wanted them to do enough to build confidence and get the whole state atmosphere nerves out."

Mitchell, which took fifth in last year's state meet, is coming into state as the third-best team behind No. 1-seeded Rapid City Central and No. 2-seeded Watertown. Mitchell has not beat Eastern South Dakota Conference rival Watertown this season or a Rapid City Central team with a full roster.

"I don't want to bank on other teams' mistakes for us to get second but that's probably what's going to have to happen," Rew said.

Mitchell has for gymnasts competing in the all-around tomorrow in freshman Quinci Herll, sophomores Becca Sadler and Ellie Rew and senior Nicole Wittstruck. Eighth-grader Josie Dierks will compete on vault and bars, while freshman Emily Prill is set to round out the line-up on beam and floor for Mitchell.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.