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For 37 years, Howard High School wrestling coach Ken Ruml has guided his team into the district tournament, winning 20 district titles. Next Saturday, Howard and other Class B programs across the state will compete in district tournaments for presumably the final time and Ruml isn't happy about it. Citing declining numbers, state athletic directors last spring voted 43-2 to end district tournaments, and a final decision was made when the South Dakota High School Activities Association board voted 8-0 to approve the AD's vote. "I hate to lose the districts," Ruml said.
A trio of Sturgis players outscored the Mitchell Kernels girls' basketball team Friday night. Scoopers' junior guard Carsey Barden, forward Rebekah Larson and 6-foot-4 center Breanna Janovy combined for 50 points and 86 percent of Sturgis' offense, while the team held off Mitchell's fourth-quarter comeback attempt. Sturgis handed Mitchell its 10th loss of the year, 58-48, while moving to 7-6 on the season at the Corn Palace. "We keep saying everyone has to do something offensively," Sturgis head coach Mike Friedel said.
Even though the Aberdeen Central wrestling team already had its first Eastern South Dakota title since 1973 wrapped up, the No. 7-ranked Eagles proved in a 44-25 win over No. 11 Mitchell that they weren't taking their final ESD opponent lightly. Aberdeen Central won nine of 14 weight classes, including No. 2-ranked Baker Haar's one-point win over No. 3 Kyle Larson in the final match of the night. "We did what we had to, and I'm pretty proud of our boys," Aberdeen Central's head coach Toby Bryant said.
Former Mitchell Marlin and current Tulsa (Okla.) Rampage captain Dustin Meyer is wrapping up his first and most likely his only year of tier III Junior A hockey. Meyer and the Rampage are currently sitting in third place in the Western States Hockey League Midwestern Division, and the former Mitchell star said he hopes to be playing in a more competitive league next season. Currently second on the team with 46 points, Meyer has helped guide his team to a 27-12-0 record with nine games remaining on the schedule.
As the season has progressed, so has the Mitchell Christian boys' basketball team, and this was one of head coach Tom Young's main goals for the year. With Young in Brookings watching his daughter Jill play for the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits Monday night, the No. 1-ranked Eagles continued learning and progressing without their head coach. Mitchell Christian defeated White Lake 54-41 in the Mitchell Christian High School gymnasium in a game where the Eagles learned a lot about being tough.
WAGNER -- An omen was born Friday when Wagner's head wrestling coach Ernie Valentine and his wife gave birth their fifth child -- a girl -- the day before the Class B state dual tournament. The next day, the hosting Red Raiders dominated their way to their third straight Class B state dual tournament title, defeating all four of its opponents without their head coach. So, without Valentine next to the mat, assistant coaches John Tyler and Todd Dvoracek took to the helm. "We tried to make it as seamless as possible today," Tyler said.
For the past three games, the Mitchell girls' basketball team has opened the first quarter with single-digit points. The trend continued Friday night at the Corn Palace when the Kernels scored six first-quarter points and eventually fell to Sioux Falls Roosevelt, 63-44. The lack of early scoring helped give way to the Kernels' fourth loss in their last five games. Mitchell made a run at Roosevelt in the third quarter, typically its best offensive quarter throughout the season.
With a little more than half of its season gone, the Mitchell Marlins girls' hockey team is entering the final push to the playoffs, and head coach Bri Homan said her team should win each of its final eight games. The three remaining opponents the Marlins play have a combined 9-24-2 record, starting with a two-game homestand against winless Watertown (0-10-1) over the weekend. "I'm hoping we'll be in the third-place spot going into the state," Homan said. "We had Brookings last weekend and we played really well against them and they're undefeated.
The 2009 State A and B Dual tournaments open Saturday morning when some of the state's top teams meet, and wrestling becomes as much of a team sport as it can be. The fifth annual Class A duals will be held in Brookings, and the Class B duals will be held in Wagner. Here's a preview of both tournaments. Class B duals The Class B duals open at 9 a.m.
PLATTE -- Hanging in the corner of the Platte-Geddes High School gymnasium is the 2008 state basketball championship banner the Black Panthers won last year. After defeating then ranked No. 1 Madison Saturday at the Hanson Classic and then taking down No. 3 Parkston Tuesday night in Platte, the Black Panthers proved they're working for another banner. No.