Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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PIERRE -- If Saturday's performance proved anything, it was that the Mitchell High School gymnastics team is ready to defend its state title this weekend. The Kernels swept the top three spots in all-around en route to winning its second consecutive Eastern South Dakota Conference title on Saturday in Pierre. "It always feels amazing to win an ESD title," Mitchell head coach Audra Rew said. "I feel like it's a strong conference in every sport, and we feel privileged to win another title." Mitchell posted a team score of 147.575, which topped the rest of the field by nearly 10 points.
Dakota Wesleyan University Athletic Director Curt Hart knows it's time to give back to high school athletics. Hart and the DWU basketball programs will give a portion of their proceeds from the Culver's DWU Classic to the South Dakota High School Activities Association Foundation. The event is Feb. 14 at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. The foundation was started to assist and support educationally-based activities sponsored by its member schools. "This is a good way to give back to the high schools," said Hart, who was a member of the SDHSAA Board of Directors in the late 2000s.
Augustana College freshman Emma Schmidt finished first in an event Saturday at the 13th Annual Wildcat Open in Wayne, Neb. Schmidt, a former Mitchell Kernel, won the women's 400-meter dash with a time of 1 minute, .31 seconds and beat the field by more than a second.
It is rare when a person grows up to live their childhood dream. Brent Havlik did. The three-time South Dakota high school wrestling champion reached his goal of competing at the Division I level when he signed with the University of Wyoming.
Ellie Rew and Rebecca Sadler admit they've had their struggles in gymnastics. But the Mitchell High School seniors have learned to overcome challenges through six seasons of varsity competition. They've been role models for many gymnasts, even as 7 year olds -- something that's taught them a lot more than they thought. "I think the moments when you have struggles and look across the gym and there's a six-year-old staring at you, you remember what it's all about," Mitchell head coach Audra Rew said.
Derik Fossum was announced Tuesday as the head coach for the Dakota Wesleyan University cross country and track and field programs. Fossum, 25, was an assistant for the track and field team under former head coach Pat Belling, who headed the programs for eight seasons. Belling resigned in December, and Fossum takes over the program immediately. "Derik has been a huge part of DWU track and field for several years as an athlete and a coach," DWU Athletic Director Curt Hart said in a release. "We feel very fortunate to have someone with his passion for Dakota Wesleyan.
Sanborn Central/Woonsocket basketball coaches Troy Olson, Rod Weber, Tim McCain and Rob Baruth will speak at the Quarterback Club meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Depot in Mitchell. Dakota Wesleyan University and Mitchell High School coaches will also speak at the meeting.
KIMBALL -- Since Christmas, Turner Blasius has really honed in on his wrestling skills. The extra focus and improvement paid off over the weekend at the West Central Invitational. The Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes 195-pounder pinned his way through the bracket to claim the title. In the final, Blasius pinned Sisseton's Josh Currence in 2 minutes, 53 seconds. Blasius pinned his other two opponents in less than 2 minutes each. "He had a good weekend," Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes head coach Thomas Konechne said. "But it just hasn't been last weekend. He's had a good month.
Dakota State University's Sharee Galbraith was selected as the North Star Athletic Association women's basketball player of the week Monday. The Winner native posted a pair of double-doubles during a week when the Trojans went 2-1. In a win over Oglala Lakota, Galbraith had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Against Trinity Bible, she tallied 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and 4 for 6 free throws, while grabbing 11 rebounds. In DSU's lone loss of the week to Briar Cliff, Galbraith had nine points and five rebounds.
PARKSTON -- Dominant doesn't begin to describe Duncan Stoebner and Dan Stibral. The two senior Bon Homme/Scotland wrestlers are both undefeated this season. After Tuesday's dual with Parkston, Stoebner improved to 28-0 at 120 pounds, while Stibral earned his 19th win at 285 pounds. Both wrestlers earned state titles as juniors, with Stoebner earning his first state championship his sophomore season.