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WAGNER -- Keaya Weber danced ferociously in the locker room, jamming away her pessimistic thoughts. Wagner's junior setter and her teammates were one victory away from the Class A state title and were enjoying their last moments together with a boom box cranked to max volume, trying to stay relaxed. Usually, Weber isn't tense before games. She helped guide her team to a 32-1 record up to that point of the season, with nearly every victory coming in sweep fashion. She did it as the quarterback of the offense, too.
The Mitchell girls' basketball team will have a different look this season. Instead of working inside to a tall post player, the Kernels will be relying on perimeter shooting from its height-lacking, athletic team. Also hoping for a change, the team will be looking to improve on its 2-20 record from last season. Leading the charge to do so will be new head coach Wes Morgan. Morgan took over for Scott VanDerMillen, who resigned in late April and moved to Harrisburg. Morgan was given the job on July 14, as he was an assistant last season.
WAGNER -- Wagner 160-pound wrestler Robert Kokesh is 5-0 so far this season. Four came from pins in the first period. After winning the 152-pound state title last year as a sophomore, Kokesh is on track to notch his second title in as many years. Kokesh was a part of Wagner's team title last season, too. The Red Raiders outscored Elk Point-Jefferson by more than 50 points to take the Class B title last season. The team, along with Kokesh, is on the winning track again this season.
Goalie Tyler Lawrence and the Mitchell Marlins defense weren't on the same page Friday night, head coach John Lord said. Mitchell allowed seven goals in its fourth game of the year Friday night in a 7-2 loss to Watertown at the Mitchell Activities Center. "We were leaving the high slot open," Lord said.
The Mitchell Marlins girls' hockey team peppered Huron's goalie with 45 shots Friday night, but only one shot found the back of the net. The Marlins lost their second game of the year, 4-1. Mitchell's Anna Rice and Lindsey Lawrence each had numerous scoring opportunities throughout the game, but other players on the ice weren't crashing the net even though the puck was in their offensive zone for most of the game. "It didn't help we were shooting right at her gut and right at her glove," Marlins coach Bri Homan said.
Mitchell's 125-pound Nick Kummer showed his third-period endurance Thursday night in Kernels' opening match of the season. Trailing 2-1, the freshman rolled Sioux Falls Roosevelt's Brendon Swartz to his back with about a minute left, taking three back points, and held him looking at the roof until the end of the match.
The Mitchell wrestling team hopes to rebound from a frustrating 14th place state tournament appearance last season and return to the top eight teams in the state. The team has nine varsity wrestlers coming back this year, and head coach Travis Carpenter said those nine have what it takes to get the Kernels back into the top fourth of the state, their main goal. "We were a little disappointed with last year's state tournament," Carpenter said. "We thought top five... top eight at least.
The Mitchell Marlins boys' hockey team has the state title on their minds this season. New head coach John Lord asked each player to send him an e-mail with team expectations and individual goals earlier this year. Almost every player said they believe the team can and should win the South Dakota Amateur Hockey Association championship this season. Lord was named head coach in June after a search committee was informed former head coach Ben Tronnes would be stepping down.
RAPID CITY -- The Wagner volleyball team shook off its first game loss in more than three months and refocused. The Red Raiders had one thing on their minds: turning the game around to win the Class A state title. The team dominated its way through the first two rounds of the tournament, winning both games in 3-0 sweeps. But all of a sudden the Red Raiders had their backs to the wall at the most crucial time. "They don't like to lose. Not even a game to 25," Tyler said. "We started out a little sluggish on defense and we weren't talking. Then I just told them, 'No regrets.
RAPID CITY -- It was a tie breaker match to end the season. The Mount Vernon Fillies wanted revenge from the Kiotes for ruining their perfect season. Kimball wanted revenge because three days after the Kiotes handed the Fillies their first loss, the Fillies turned around and handed Kimball its first loss, too. In the end, the Kimball Kiotes claimed bragging rights when the two teams collided for the Class B consolation championship match Saturday at the state high school volleyball tournament.