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Finally, a chance to turn the page. Following a winless campaign a year ago, the Mitchell High School boys basketball team is ready to start a new chapter. And with a new season brings a new head coach. Head coach Todd Neuendorf said the Kernels' intensity has been good thus far during early season practice.
GREGORY — Since he was young, Andy McCance has set out to play Division I football in college. The Gregory High School quarterback took a big step toward doing that on Monday, verbally committing to play at the University of South Dakota. He will join the Coyotes as a preferred walk-on. The Coyotes have been McCance's frontrunner since before his senior season and McCance made the decision official on Monday. He told The Daily Republic that it came down to the Coyotes coaching staff believing in him as a Division I quarterback.
The Mitchell Christian boys basketball team has plenty of reasons for optimism heading into a new season. Second-year head coach Jesse Tolsma brings back five key letterwinners from last season's team, which took a major step forward last year to finish 10-12 on the season. "The really fun part is that we've got a great group of returning players," Tolsma said. "These players have been around for a year and they know what to expect from me. I give these kids a lot of credit because they spent a lot of time in the offseason working and getting better."
Over the course of 27 matches, there was plenty to like for the 2017 Mitchell High School volleyball team. Mitchell was ranked No. 1 for a period in the state's coaches poll, gained the No. 2-seed in the state tournament and above all, the Kernels achieved their preseason goal of making the state tournament for first time since 2012. Even though the Kernels (21-6) had a few struggles at the Class AA state tournament and finished seventh, the successes outweigh the negatives, coach Deb Thill said.
It was a good year for the powers of the Big East Conference on the Class 11B all-state football team.
The fundraising drive for a new artificial turf surface and a new track at Joe Quintal Field continues, with a new effort to secure funding for the project before the end of the year. Mitchell High School recently re-opened another round of fundraising, this time targeting donors who might be willing to donate a smaller amount. The goal is to raise $100,000 by the end of the year.
The Mitchell High School gymnastics team is pushing the bar this season. The Kernels have succeeded with their own style of gymnastics — winning three of the last four state championships and finishing second in Class AA a year ago — working on sound, solid routines that they know they can hit and score. But coach Audra Rew said her Kernel team — which numbers 22 gymnasts on the roster this year — will take a different approach this season. Rew said she will have her gymnasts adding a higher difficulty to their routines much earlier in the season.
Win, lose and draw. The Mitchell Marlins girls hockey team finished the weekend with one of each result during a three-game homestand at the Mitchell Activities Center. The Marlins tied the Watertown Lakers 4-4 on Saturday, before pounding the Lakers 6-1 Sunday for the team's first win of the season. That came on the heels of a 6-3 loss to Sioux Falls late Friday.
Mackenzie Miller can do a little bit of everything on the volleyball court. In that way, she’s the perfect embodiment of the Mitchell High School volleyball program.
GREGORY — Jayd VanDerWerff is trading his Gregory red in for Jackrabbit blue. The talented Gorilla football standout said Monday that he will play football at South Dakota State University, accepting a preferred walk-on offer from the Jackrabbits. VanDerWerff, who was Gregory's most versatile player on back-to-back state championship teams and three of the last four Class 9AA title teams, told The Daily Republic it was a tough decision between the two Football Championship Subdivision schools in the state: picking SDSU over the University of South Dakota.