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Gray Determan had to wait until his senior year to show exactly what he could to as a member of the Mitchell High School boys varsity tennis team. He's not letting his lone season for the Kernels go to waste. Playing No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles, the senior has been a key member of the Kernels' third-straight Eastern South Dakota Conference title-winning team. Determan has identical 18-2 records in both singles and doubles, where he typically plays with sophomore Carter Cavanaugh.
WAGNER — Friday nights this summer will be a little quieter in Wagner. After nearly 10 years of continued auto racing at the Wagner Speedway, the track won't run a full season in 2016. Lynn Fischer has been with the track since the beginning, when the track opened in 1990. His family runs many of the operations at the track, from the concession stand to the ticket sales. He said the track has become a pretty expensive hobby, one that doesn't turn a profit. "It just all adds up," he said. "It's been a hobby and it costs money every year to run it."
SIOUX FALLS — For the second time in his life, Brandon Hartzell is 36 holes away from qualifying from one of the biggest golf tournaments in the world: the U.S. Open. And how has he been preparing to make it? By playing rounds at Wild Oak Golf Course in Mitchell. Hartzell, 28, was a graduate assistant coach with the Dakota Wesleyan University golf teams earlier this season and lived in Mitchell when he signed up to qualify for the U.S. Open again in 2016. He still has a residence in Mitchell but is planning to move closer to his hometown in the Twin Cities next month.
SIOUX FALLS—As the defending team champions in Class B, Zach Pettit wasn't afraid to admit that the Platte-Geddes boys track team was feeling some pressure. "I about peed my pants before the first meet," he said. "But we've put in a lot of time to prepare for this moment." The Black Panthers seized the moment on Friday in the 4x800 Class B boys relay at the 91st annual Howard Wood Dakota Relays in Sioux Falls.
SIOUX FALLS — Burke native Tyler Frank noticed the cheers at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays Friday night. Not just from the people standing around the high jump bar, but instead, it was the whole stadium cheering on the University of South Dakota long jump standout to get it done, to tie the school record and raise his personal best. "I noticed it right before my last jump," he said. "It's something you don't really get to experience, even as an average college athlete."
If winning is a habit, don't expect the Mitchell High School boys tennis program to be giving it up anytime soon. While the school's varsity team is 15-1 and is led by a strong nucleus of upperclassmen, the Kernels continue to mix those players in with young players. Mitchell has 28 junior varsity players and entering this week, the Kernels' JV players had a record of 141-11 in matches this season, recording 10 wins for every loss they've accumulated.
Mitchell's Kaelyn Kaul loves to run. And she's not one to turn down a race. Kaul, a senior for the Kernels, can run the 200, 400, 800-meter races and has been a key cog in the team's distance relays. Those types of runners — who can seemingly do it all and do it well — aren't easy to find. "She's exactly what we look for," said Mitchell coach Joe Shepardson. "She sets a great example and she stays late at practice. She does everything she can and then asks what else she can be doing to get better."
When Dakota Wesleyan University women's golf coach Chris Gomez heard rumblings around the clubhouse at Wild Oak Golf Course Monday, he began to feel disappointed. "I didn't want us to come in second," he said. But the scores were still being added and good news soon followed: the Tigers didn't finish second, they finished first, winning their eighth consecutive Great Plains Athletic Conference women's golf championship at their home course Monday in Mitchell.
PLATTE — Troy Kirsch can't help but be a little jealous of kids these days. Unlike when he graduated from school in Platte, high school students now can participate in one of their favorite hobbies as a club sport: trapshooting. "I would have loved to do this as a kid," he said. "This is a pretty great thing for so many kids to be a part of."
Dakota Wesleyan University had a nice event Wednesday to recognize the career and contributions of athletic director Curt Hart, who will retire at the end of May. And while the ceremony was held at the university's campus hub, the Sherman Center, the more symbolic location might have been across campus. Because for all of Hart's contributions to the athletic programs and the university in his tenure, it's the DWU/Avera Sports and Wellness Complex that is likely the most significant.