Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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Four Mitchell High School wrestlers were named to the all-Eastern South Dakota Conference team, it was announced Wednesday. Seniors Matt Larson, Landon Neugebauer, Ethan Parr and Robert McCardle are each on the list, which is voted on by the conference coaches. "They're all very deserving," Mitchell head coach Travis Carpenter said. "I'm happy for the kids, and they've worked hard to be voted onto that team. It is a great honor." There were 28 wrestlers who were selected as all-conference selections.
Scott Schmidt knows his team had a great regular season, but why stop there? In the second year of Florida National University's men's basketball program, the Conquistadors have a chance to win a national title. FNU was selected Monday as the fifth seed in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Men's Division I Basketball Championships.
Strong defense late in the game led the Kernels to victory Monday. With 6 seconds left on the clock and after three consecutive full timeouts, the Mitchell boys basketball team tightened its defense and didn't allow Brookings to get a shot off before the final buzzer. With the stop, the Kernels won their final regular-season contest of the season 55-53 over Brookings in an Eastern South Dakota Conference game. "When your shots aren't going in, especially at the end, our kids have a tendency not to play with high energy on the defensive end," Mitchell assistant coach Craig Mock said.
With the regular season coming to a close Monday, Erik Skoglund is looking for some consistency. In the last five games, which saw the Mitchell boys basketball team go 1-4, Skoglund said playing top-notch opponents have had something to do with his team's struggles. "We're playing stiff competition," Skoglund said. "When we put together four quarters together, this team can beat anybody. We just haven't done that yet." In their last five contests, the Kernels (8-11, 6-9 ESD) were edged by No. 2 Aberdeen Central and beaten by No.
BURKE/GREGORY -- Burke/Gregory wrestlers are constantly reminded of the accomplishments of former team members. In the wrestling room, there are photos of all of the state placers. "It's a big deal to have your picture up there," Burke/Gregory head coach John Hansen said Tuesday. "That's the goal, and these kids are working hard for that." The Storm has had a full lineup throughout the 2014-15 season, and Hansen thinks most of his kids can advance to state. Burke/Gregory competes in the Region 3B tournament at 11 a.m. Saturday in Parkston.
SCOTLAND -- Carley Skorepa is more than an offensive threat. The 5-foot-10 senior forward has opened up the floor for her teammates, allowing the Highlanders (8-10) to earn some recent success. "Her point totals are just a small part of the whole picture," Scotland's 19-year head coach Kevin Janish said Monday. "She has the ability to rebound and pass the ball. She helps move the basketball around and get other players involved in the right time, which allows her to get open also." Last week, Skorepa helped Scotland to 2-0, beating Parkston and Gregory.
In front of an estimated 2,600 spectators, the Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team moved one game closer to a Great Plains Athletic Conference regular season title. The No. 6 Tigers (26-3, 16-3 GPAC) defeated Hastings College 88-69 on Sunday at the Corn Palace. Despite wanting to begin thinking about the postseason, second-year DWU head coach Matt Wilber said his team has to stay in the now. "If we get to where we're looking too far ahead, we're going to end up with bad memories," he said. "We've got to stay in the present, and we knew Hastings has a very good basketball team.
WATERTOWN -- On Saturday, Mitchell's gymnastics team picked up where it left off. The Kernels, who won their second consecutive Class AA state title on Friday, had seven individuals compete in Saturday's individual competition. Mitchell came home from the state meet with the team trophy and 24 individual medals. The top 20 in each event place and earn a medal. "Last year we came into the second day on such and high, but that wasn't the case this time," Mitchell nine-year head coach Audra Rew said.
WATERTOWN — Wagner/Bon Homme sure proved a point Friday. After missing out on the Class A state gymnastics meet a year ago, the Red Raiders proved that they belonged. They put together a solid meet and finished second with a team score of 133.225. "We all stayed positive and pulled together," Wagner/Bon Homme head coach Cherie Petry said.
What could be considered Mitchell High School's most successful athletic program in the last 13 seasons almost was gone. Over the last 13 seasons, the Mitchell High School gymnastics team has claimed five Eastern South Dakota Conference championships and four state titles, which includes the team title it claimed Friday. The win wrapped up a perfect season in which Mitchell won every meet it competed in. It was the second straight championship for the Kernels. But despite the success of the program, the administration threatened to drop the sport twice since 2002.