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Mitchell gymnasts undefeated through first half of season

Mitchell’s Ellie Rew performs on beam during the Jill McCormick Invite earlier this season at Mitchell High School. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

In December, the Kernels won the Lolly Forseth Invite, Aberdeen Invite and Jill McCormick Invite, along with two triangulars, to begin the season. Mitchell hasn’t fallen in a meet yet this year.

“The first half went as expected and we usually come out strong and are pretty consistent,” Mitchell head gymnastics coach Audra Rew said. “Other teams will improve and catch up with us because their scores tend to fluctuate more than ours do. We seem to be steadier throughout the year.”

Mitchell is averaging a team score of 144.69 in five meets this season and attained its best score of 146.8 in its home opener.

Rew said her team doesn’t feel any pressure after winning every meet so far this season.

“The kids know the other teams can come on strong and know some teams haven’t but all of their athletes and skills in the lineups,” she said, adding a team who is expected to come on strong during the second half of the season is Sioux Falls O’Gorman. “We’ve been competing and practicing as if we’re the underdogs because we feel we are.”

Over the break, the Kernels have been perfecting their routines and rearranging them to get as much value as they can.

“We are analyzing our routines and trying to upgrade and get every tenth out of the routines,” Rew said. “The girls built confidence early in the season, so we’re able to add variety.”

The Kernels have been paced by three all-around competitors this season — juniors Rebecca Sadler and Ellie Rew and sophomore Quinci Herll.

Sadler, Herll and Rew have placed in the top five in all three invitationals to start the year.

“We have three great all-arounders,” Audra Rew said. “Other teams might have the one girl and not have anyone else placing, but our strength is the depth we have.”

Rew added the fifth and sixth competitor on each event will make the difference later in the season.

“Right now, we’re focusing on those girls, getting them stronger,” Rew said. “We need to have those girls at the end of our lineup prepared in case we need to substitute.”

The Kernels have seven practices until their next test. Mitchell travels to the Brookings Inviational Jan. 11.

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