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Marlin players help Team South Dakota win national title

Mitchell Marlin players Jesse Grosdidier, of Ethan, and Alex Murtha, of Mitchell pose Sunday after Team South Dakota won the Youth Tier II 16U 1A national title in Ashburn, Va. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Grosdidier)

Two Mitchell Marlin players helped Team South Dakota win the 16-and-under 1A championship at the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier II Youth National Championships over the weekend in Ashburn, Va.

Junior Alex Murtha, of Mitchell, and freshman Jesse Grosdidier, of Ethan, represented the Marlin hockey team on the state team, which players had to try out for. Murtha played for the 16U team last season, while Grosdidier played for the South Dakota’s U14 team.

The national tournament extended from Wednesday through Sunday and there were eight teams in Team South Dakota’s division from Delaware, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, Utah and Alabama.

In Sunday’s championship, Team South Dakota beat the Delaware Ducks 7-1, scoring three goals in each of the first two periods.

“After we scored the first three goals, we knew that we were taking it home,” Grosdidier said. 

Team South Dakota went 4-1 in the tournament with its lone loss coming to Delaware in pool play earlier in the tournament. Along with Delaware, Team South Dakota recorded wins over the Oklahoma City Oil Kings, Northern Kentucky Norse and Park City Miners.

The team included 18 of South Dakota’s top players and Murtha said it was a great experience.

“It’s an amazing and humbling experience to be on the ice with those great players and a fun way to spend a week playing hockey,” he said. “All competition makes you better and this is even a higher level.”

Grosdidier said playing with the state’s best players has improved his game.

“To know that you’re the same level as those kids, it’s amazing,” he said. “They teach you a lot and you learn from each other. I really enjoyed playing for that team and want to play on it next year.”

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