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Kernel gymnasts open season with big performance

Mitchell eighth-grader Kayla Kerr prepares for a full turn during her balance beam routine at the Kernels’ season opener Monday in Yankton. (James Cimburek/Yankton Press & Dakotan)

YANKTON — The Mitchell Kernel gymnastics team opened its season with a bang.

The Kernels posted a score of 144.75 and placed all of their all-around competitors in the top five.

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“I’m very excited about our first performance,” Mitchell coach Audra Rew said, adding the score is the highest opening score a Kernel team has had since she’s been the coach. “For a team to come out with brand new skills with the confidence they have, I couldn’t have asked for them to do better. If that’s a sign of how they’re going to compete all season, they can go up against tough competition and stand their ground.”

The Kernels beat Yankton-Bon Homme (130.35) and Sioux Falls Washington (99.7) in their season opener Monday in Yankton. For more results, see Page B2.

Junior Rebecca Sadler, who was out most of last season with an injury, won the all-around title with a 36.55, with sophomore Quincy Herrl in second with a 36.5 and junior Ellie Rew with a 36.3. Freshman Josie Dierks was fourth with a 35.3 and Emily Prill had a 34.6 for fifth place in her first meet competing in all four events.

“Becca had a rough year last year and it’s nice for her confidence coming back and coming out strong,” Rew said. “It was a good night for all our girls.”

Sadler also won uneven bars (9.65) and floor exercise (9.55), while Herll won vault (9.55) and Ellie Rew took first on balance beam (9.15).

“We started on beam and had some falls, but the kids stayed composed,” Audra Rew said. “Ellie was the only one who looked really solid and relaxed on beam and she did a fantastic job. Having different girls win events shows the depth we have this year.”

The Kernel JV team recorded a 129.2, breaking a school record.