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The season started with national championship aspirations. Now that prize is in sight for the South Dakota State University football team, which continues to impress and will play for a trip to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision championship game on Saturday. That's when SDSU will meet No. 1-seeded and undefeated James Madison, which won the national championship a year ago and has won 25 games in a row.
In the corner of the Mitchell High School gym, another early season practice went in the books for this year's edition of the Kernel boys basketball team. Fielding questions from The Daily Republic, senior guard Baley Miller was asked about Mitchell's culture of winning basketball and how that can be restored. "Can I say we're a basketball town?" Miller asked his teammates, after thinking for a few seconds. "Yeah, I think we can say that," fellow senior Carter Cavanaugh said.
MINNEAPOLIS — Mitchell native and University of Minnesota standout swimmer Tevyn Waddell picked up three victories at the Minnesota Invite Thursday through Saturday, continuing her strong sophomore campaign.
The Mitchell High School volleyball team had a pair of all-around standouts during the 2017 season. The South Dakota Volleyball Coaches Association agreed, and named juniors Mackenzie Miller and Chelsea Brewster to the 14-member Class AA all-state teams. Miller is a first-team selection for a second consecutive season, while Brewster was honored for the first time, landing on the second team.
A mix of youth and experience is paired with a new coach, as the Mitchell Christian girls basketball team approaches a new season. Chris Nemec will coach the Golden Eagles in 2017-18, who bring back five letterwinners from last year's 3-18 team. Nemec, who teaches social studies at Mitchell Christian, was an assistant for the boys team last season and has coached the Golden Eagles' volleyball team previously. He replaces Jackie Van Laecken.
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.