Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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WESSINGTON SPRINGS -- In the midst of a chaotic week, an amateur baseball game brought a calmness through Wessington Springs Sunday. "We were uneasy about whether we should play or not," Owls' pitcher/infielder Mitch McLagan said.
This season was "a once-in-a-lifetime experience" for Megan Solberg and the Morningside College women's tennis team. The Mitchell High School graduate helped the Mustangs win the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament to advance to the school's first-ever NAIA national tournament appearance. "At the beginning of this season, we never would've guessed we would make it," Solberg, a junior, said. "It was a good accomplishment.
People of all ages in the Mitchell area are flooding to the tennis courts this summer. The Mitchell Tennis Association has hosted "Open Court Night" every Thursday for several years during the summer months. This June, the numbers have hit an all-time high. "We didn't have an open court until 9:30 p.m., and that probably hasn't happened before," said Chad Larson, a member of the MTA board and assistant coach for the Mitchell High School boys tennis program. "I see a lot of families out at the courts.
JACKSON, Wyo. -- Coaching track and field was Mary Ellen Luikens' life for 39 years. On Wednesday, she was named the assistant coach of the year in girls sports at the National High School Athletic Coaches Association's 49th annual meeting/seminar Wednesday in Jackson, Wyo. "I was very shocked and very thrilled," Luikens said Thursday. "I always put kids first and wanted the athletes to reach their highest potential.
LETCHER -- It was an "awesome" feeling when Tater Moody and Cayden Slykhuis found out they were advancing to nationals. The sixth-graders, who reside in Letcher and attend school at Sanborn Central, took fourth in team roping at the South Dakota Junior High State Finals to qualify for the National Junior High Finals Rodeo, which is Sunday through June 28 in Des Moines, Iowa. "I think it will be a really good experience for them," Robin Moody, Tater's mother, said, adding the two are cousins.
Dakota Wesleyan University has been hosting the Hansen Anderson Basketball School camp. The gym was filled with youth players Wednesday afternoon with 5-on-5 games. There were 70 area players at...
COLOME -- Rylee Jo and Reid Rutten feel like they have an advantage over other team roping competitors. The siblings, of Colome, are able to practice daily together with their father, Digger, who is the Tripp County rodeo team adviser and public relations director for the South Dakota High School Rodeo Association. "It's really comforting because my dad's always there to help us," Rylee said earlier this week. "I think it's easier to compete with my brother, too. I don't feel as bad when I miss because we rope together all the time.
After Post 18 produced 27 runs in a tournament over the weekend, it hit a lull when returning home for a nine-inning contest Tuesday. Mitchell recorded five hits in a 4-1 loss to Sioux Falls West at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. "We had a lot of lazy fly balls," Post 18 coach Luke Norden said. "When you've got 27 outs and close to half of those are lazy fly balls, we just couldn't get anything going on that." Post 18 (9-7) didn't record a hit until the fourth inning when Dylanger Pierson hit a single.
The Kernels had a breakout season in boys tennis, and it was topped off by a second-place finish at the state tournament in May. Mitchell added to its school record-setting season Tuesday as head coach Pat Moller was named the tennis coach of the year by the South Dakota High School Coaches' Association. "It's a reflection of the season we've had," Moller said Tuesday. "The boys have worked hard and were able to go out and perform, and without that success, I'm not going to be considered for that award. "Who would've thought three years ago that this would've happened.
FREEMAN -- The future is unclear for the Freeman football team. Freeman once dominated the gridiron, winning nine-man state championships in 1981, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999, but now the school is on the brink of calling it quits. The Flyers are struggling to field a team again this season. Last year, Freeman had 17 players, freshmen through seniors, on its roster and was the second lowest in Class 9AA.