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In Class 11AA football, there's a heavy favorite and then, a wide-open field. With the start of the season just two days away, the race for this year's Class 11AA state championship appears to favor the Harrisburg Tigers—last year's runner-up. Both the South Dakota Prep Media football and The Daily Republic's Eastern South Dakota Conference coaches polls have Harrisburg as the undisputed preseason favorite, but from there the two polls differ.
With only four returning letterwinners and a new head coach, the Mitchell Christian volleyball team knows this season will be focused on finding ways to improve. Cara Van Zee, a 2010 MCS graduate and assistant coach with the team for the past three seasons, takes over as the MCS head coach. Van Zee replaces Chris Nemec, who coached the team for the past two seasons.
Heading into the first game of the 2017 season, the Mitchell High School football team knows it should be able keep opponents out of the endzone. The Kernel defense, which returns five starters, will be one of the team's strengths. Mitchell held opponents to 12.5 points per game last year and the unit will hope to continue clamp down on opposing offenses.
CANISTOTA—As far the Canistota/Freeman football team is concerned, it's the same team, different name for the 2017 season. Both Canistota and Freeman are entering year two as a football co-op, but instead of playing as the Canistota Hawks, they'll be known as one of South Dakota's newest teams—the Canistota/Freeman Pride.
Jason Greenway will be back on the sidelines in black and gold at Joe Quintal Field this year. The former multi-sport standout for the Kernels and Augustana University is joining the Mitchell High School football team's coaching staff as an assistant. "Coach VanOverschelde asked if I'd be interested and I said 'Yeah, for sure.' I wasn't sure where I'd start coaching, but I wanted to get into it," Greenway said. "It's different to be on the other side of the ball. There's a lot more things going on than you originally think."
The Kernel Bowl countdown is on. Scheduled to start at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, the second edition of the Kernel Bowl is closing in on the final two weeks of preparations. As the purpose of the event is to kick off fall activities, the Kernel Bowl will have plenty of activities planned throughout the day in preparations of kickoff between Mitchell and Brookings at 7 p.m. New at this year's Kernel Bowl will be the addition of a MHS volleyball game against the Bobcats at 4 p.m., as well as a dance camp set for 10 a.m.
The Alexandria Angels won another Class B amateur baseball state championship. In other news, the sky is still blue, people are sick of road construction and it’s still 420 feet to the center-field fence at Cadwell Park. Once again, the boys from Alexandria got the best of the 32-team tournament, navigating five wins in eight days at Cadwell Park for a second straight year.
COLOME—In the state's smallest football class, the Colome Cowboys have been stalwarts. After a 2016 Class 9B state championship, don't expect that to change in 2017. Despite losing eight seniors to graduation and hiring a new head coach, the Cowboys are planning to be in the mix for a repeat. "I feel like a lot of kids didn't get the credit they deserved from last year's team. Not saying they didn't get any credit, but they have chip on their shoulder," said new head coach Ben Connot. "They want to create their own legacy."
It took two Alexandria wins on Sunday for the Angels to repeat as state champions. Roughly 14 hours after narrowly beating Harrisburg 1-0 in a rain-delayed semifinal that ended at 1:38 a.m. on Sunday morning, the Angels jumped in front of Larchwood (Iowa) early and cruised to a 4-0 win in the South Dakota Class B Amateur Baseball Tournament championship game at Cadwell Park.
It was only fitting that Alexandria's two dominant arms were named co-MVPs after the Class B state championship on Sunday. Minutes after the Angels celebrated its third championship in five years—a 4-0 win over Larchwood, Iowa—Alexandria's Tyson Gau and Trever Vermeulen were announced as the tournament's co-MVPs to a large roar from the Alexandria team and fans. Both Gau and Vermeulen earned two wins for Alexandria in the tourney and have been crucial pieces for the Angels annual run during the five-game, single-elimination grind.