Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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Michael Lukkason stepped up to the plate and swung on the first pitch without hesitation, sending the ball into right field for a single Saturday. That's the way he's been all season. "I like to be aggressive when I'm thrown a fastball," said Dakota Wesleyan University baseball player Lukkason, who bats in the Tigers' fourth spot. "I don't see many fastballs in the spot I'm in but when I do, I like to take advantage of them." Lukkason leads the Tigers and Great Plains Athletic Conference in batting average at .413, ahead of Northwestern's Corey Van Gorp, who's batting .412.
The new sheet of ice is sending a message that hockey is here to stay in Mitchell. And it can't come soon enough for all those involved in the Mitchell Hockey Association. The goal is to have the second sheet completed by Oct. 1 of this year, according to Mitchell Hockey Association President Doug Beck. "Everything is positive about it with the media and city council," Mitchell boys' varsity coach John Lord said.
Mitchell's Kerri Young has once again been chosen as one of the state's top basketball players. Young was one of six players to be in an elite group of state high school boys' and girls' basketball players of the year. Winners of the awards are seniors who received the most points in the all-state balloting by the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association and the South Dakota Sportswriters Association.
For Amelia Rew, gymnastics is more than a sport. It's a lifestyle. It has taught her how to be successful, come through adversity, work hard, deal with injuries, interact with people of all ages and perform under pressure. And after 17 years of being in the gym and going through ups and downs, her gymnastics career could come to a close this weekend. Rew, a Mitchell native, and the Arizona State University gymnastics team are competing in the NCAA Division I West Regional Gymnastics Meet Saturday. The meet begins at 6 p.m.
At the first Mitchell Middle School tennis meeting of the year, Chad Larson noticed every desk was filled. "I don't ever remember walking into the first meeting and seeing that many kids," said Larson, who is the Mitchell Kernels boys' tennis assistant coach. The team has 31 students out this season, which is up from last year's 19. Twenty-one of those 31 players are in middle school and 10 players have never picked up a tennis racquet before the first practice. "It's good for the future for us, especially because we're considered a young team on the varsity level," Larson said.
More athletic directors around the state believe a shot clock in high school basketball is needed at more than the Class AA level. South Dakota athletic directors voted in favor of a 35-second shot clock for Class A basketball by a 26-21 vote at their annual spring conference last week in Pierre. Wagner Athletic Director Neil Goter, who is on the state's basketball advisory committee, said although the measure passed, it will not likely go to the South Dakota High School Activities Association office for a vote. "It's got to pass by a pretty good margin before it gets to the office," Goter
This summer, Cadwell Sports Complex will play host to two youth state baseball tournaments. The state VFW 12-and-under tournament is in July, while the state VFW Class AA 13-14 majors tournament is set for Aug. 2-4. Mitchell has played host to both tournaments in past years but hasn't hosted either for at least five years. Mitchell Baseball Association President Jim Larson said the association offered to host the majors tournament and was approved for one main reason -- Mitchell does not host the state amateur baseball tournament this summer, so there won't be a field conflict.
The Sunshine League was home to nine amateur baseball teams last season, but welcomed another Tuesday. Managers from the league's teams were in attendance at a meeting Tuesday in Parkston when the decision was reached that Tripp-Delmont will have a team in the league this summer. "You never know how many teams are going to be around, so the more the merrier," Dimock/Emery manager Ron DeGeest said.
KIMBALL -- The way Jesse Taylor finishes games is reminiscent of famous Indiana prep star Jimmy Chitwood, according to Kimball/White Lake boys' basketball coach Kamden Miller. A senior at Kimball High School, Taylor always wants the ball to close out games. When describing Taylor, Miller even quoted Chitwood, who knocked down a game-winning shot to help his team win the 1954 Indiana state high school basketball championship that inspired the movie Hoosiers. " 'I'll make it,' " Miller said, referring to Chitwood's infamous line in the movie that also coincides with Taylor's mindset.
College basketball players are still hitting the court and so is Kelly Pfeifer. Pfeifer, of Mitchell, recently refereed two NCAA Division I College Insider Tournament games Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago and Youngstown, Ohio. This is Pfeifer's third year of refereeing Division I-level games and the postseason games rank at the top for him. "The intensity is higher and there is more pressure," he said. "Teams are wanting to stay alive and everything gets elevated." Pfeifer, who played basketball for the Mitchell Kernels and Dakota Wesleyan Tigers, got into reffing in 2004.