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MHS cross country teams open with home invite

The Mitchell Kernels cross country team had a tough year last season, but today is a new start.

The Kernels host the Mitchell Invitational at 10 a.m. at the Mitchell Middle School and head coach Scott Munsen hopes it is the start of something good.

“We had a tough year last year,” Munsen said. “We had some injuries and had some kids lose their confidence. We are looking forward to getting things going and starting our season. We are going to see what we can do in our first two meets and be ready and able to run and see where we go from there.”

Last season, the Kernel boys’ and girls’ squads finished eighth at the Eastern South Dakota Conference meet. The boys finished 16th at the state meet, while the girls finished 15th at state.

In high school cross country, the boys run a 5,000-meter race, while the girls run a 4,000 meters.

Munsen said he thinks both teams will be much improved this year and hopefully move up in the conference and state.

“We are definitely going to be better than we were last year,” Munsen said. “If we can improve on those standings, then our season can be called a success. We just need to take things one day at a time and one week at a time. As long as we are running our best in October in time for ESD and state, we will be fine.”

The Kernel boys are expecting contributions from returning runners, senior Matt Reu, eighth grader Gage Nelson, freshmen Josh Loecker and Rusty Munsen and sophomores Riley Cowins and Christian Fossum.

Last year at state meet, Cowins had the third fastest time on the team, finishing in 20 minutes, 55.40 seconds. Rusty Munsen had the fifth fastest finish for the Kernels at the meet with a time of 22:53.

Newcomers to the squad this season are sophomore Coby Lee, seniors Luke Bartl and Isaiah Munsen and seventh-grader Caleb Lee.

“We have several middle school kids starting this week, so we are looking forward to building some depth in the next few years,” Scott Munsen said.

The Kernel girls are led by freshman Mary Krause, sophomore Naomi Munsen and juniors Karla Resindez and Ellie Rew. Also returning after missing last fall is sophomore Karlie Brown and junior Julie Knight. Scott Munsen added he expects newcomer Kaelyn Kaul, a sophomore transfer from Wyoming, to contribute.

Krause finished 28th at the state meet last year with a time of 16:03.47, Naomi Munsen ran a 17:17.92 and Rew ran 20:13.92 at the state meet.

“I am looking forward to putting our girls’ team back together and having a good season,” Scott Munsen said. “I really like our attitudes right now. I think we are going in the right direction and I am excited to see what is going to happen.”

After the Mitchell Invitational, the Kernels host a triangular with Watertown and Madison at 4:15 p.m.