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Senior night came early for the Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team on Saturday. Boosted by 38 points from senior guard Trae Bergh and 16 points from senior Terrell Newton — including 13 points in the second half — the Tigers rallied back to beat a hot-shooting Doane squad 94-87 at the Corn Palace. DWU cut down a six-point halftime lead but never led until Newton made a three-pointer with 4:36 left to give Wesleyan a 79-78 lead. A few moments later, Newton made a tough layup with the shot clock running down to make the lead 82-78.
For the Ostbye family and children Caitlin and Colby, practice is making perfect. The Mitchell residents have turned into a solid motocross duo, racing and winning all across South Dakota and the region. At ages 14 and 11 respectively, it's high-powered fun and adrenaline that keeps Caitlin and Colby coming back. Both raced about 50 times this year and 2015 marks their most successful season yet. "You have to practice a lot," Colby said.
WINNER — Experience is paying early dividends for the Winner Area wrestling team. The Warriors have seen some success in the early weeks of the season against strong competition.
A 25-point fourth quarter lifted the No. 16 Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team past No. 9 Concordia (Neb.) University on Saturday afternoon at the Corn Palace, giving the Tigers their 10th win of the season in the process.
PLANKINTON — The challenge was clear at the outset of the 2015 volleyball season for the Makaela Karst and the Mount Vernon/Plankinton Titans. With a talented group of players returning, the Titans had their eyes on a state championship and improving upon a fourth-place Class A finish in 2014. Challenge accepted. Expectations exceeded. The Titans had a record year, winning 31 matches and finishing as the state's runner-up in Class A. As a senior, Karst provided the leadership linchpin for her team, proving to be a dominant attacking hitter for MV/P.
SIOUX FALLS — All four of South Dakota's college wrestling programs will be under one roof on Sunday and the organizers of the South Dakota Showcase are hoping it can lift the profile of college wrestling in the state. Augustana, Dakota Wesleyan, Northern State and South Dakota State will wrestle each other in a quadrangular at the Sanford Pentagon, starting at noon. It's the first time the event has been held and will be unique in that it's rare to have a South Dakota college teams taking on each other in various divisions simultaneously.
Summarized in short by the team's lone senior, Zach Smith, the Mitchell Kernel wrestling squad has a key trait in the early season: dedication. Regardless of what the team and individual seasons hold for the Kernels on the mat, the young team is willing to put in the work. "They're dedicated," Smith said. "They're willing to work. That's what we need." Mitchell had nine wrestlers make it to the state tournament, but only four of them return to the Kernels' team this year. Briggs Havlik, Cade Carpenter, Carson Max and Alex Klingaman are back after making the state tournament a year ago.
The Mitchell Kernels gymnastics team will be small in size for the 2015-16 season, with just 11 varsity members. But as the two-time defending state team champions in Class AA, they also expect themselves to be championship contenders. Mitchell coach Audra Rew said her team is made up of gymnasts that have been driven to succeed and reach the next goal since they were young. She's not worried about having to motivate her team in pursuit for a third straight state championship. "Gymnastics itself is a sport where there's always something out there that you can strive for," she said.
One of the reasons that the state wrestling tournament is an appealing event in the Midwest is because it involves the best wrestlers all under one roof. That's the case in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin and on and on. South Dakota has strayed from that method in the past, but will return to an all-class format next February in Rapid City and will continue with two straight consecutive tournaments in Sioux Falls in 2017 and 2018. If you're a wrestling junkie, you're going to be there.
SIOUX FALLS—For the first time in the short history of the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, it hosted the South Dakota high school volleyball championships, diving in with all three classes at once. But there were no major problems on day one. "I think it was a fantastic venue to have," said Mount Vernon/Plankinton coach Darcy Deinert said. "I don't think there's any doubt that it feels like a big deal when you're out on the court." The 12,000-seat arena has three courts with matches taking place simultaneously.