Break in the action: Kernel gymnasts enter Christmas break on high note

The Kernels will return to practice on Dec. 28 and will compete in the Brookings Invitational on Jan. 9.

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Mitchell's Kyra Gropper dismounts while competing on the bars during the Jill McCormick Gymnastics Invitational on Saturday at Mitchell High School.

The Mitchell High School gymnastics team displayed its depth again Saturday.

At their annual Jill McCormick Invitational at MHS gym, the Kernels split into two teams: Mitchell Gold and Mitchell Black.

Mitchell Gold placed first with 146.100 points, while Mitchell Black took fourth with a 140.650 score. Watertown (144.700) and Harrisburg (141.000) were sandwiched in between the Kernel squads.

“I am very happy with how the girls performed,” Mitchell coach Audra Rew said. “It was nice to give some of the kids an opportunity to do different events.”

The Kernels have 21 gymnasts on the roster, but each team is only allowed five in each event. Saturday’s split squads allowed more Kernels to experiment and compete in different events.


The number of gymnasts and competition rules create an interesting dynamic for Rew.

“When I say they’re talented -- they really are -- and other people will say that’s not too big of a problem,” Rew said. “But it is a big problem. These kids could be the No. 1 kid on any team and be placing top-five at state and they could not even get that opportunity. So keeping them all energetic and excited to perform is difficult.”

On Saturday, Emily Moody (36.3) finished second in the all-around. Kyra Gropper (36.2) and Chelsey Mohr (35.95) placed second and third, respectively.

Rew said Gropper needed a confidence builder and Saturday’s home meet did just that.

“I think she will be where I need her the rest of the season,” Rew said. “I think she has her confidence back and feels good about things.”

The Kernels captured individual titles in the vault and beam. Moody tied for first in the vault with a score of 9.500. Gropper captured the beam title with a 9.650.

Mitchell practiced Monday and Tuesday before taking its break for Christmas. The Kernels will return to practice on Dec. 28 and will compete in the Brookings Invitational on Jan. 9.

“They need a break,” Rew said. “They need a rest. They are pretty fired up to come back and be ready in Brookings.”


The Brookings Invitational kicks off a busy January before the Kernels gear up for conference and state meets in February.

“We are trying to see what the best team is going to be for the state meet,” Rew said. “That’s our goal and our goal is to focus on the team and to win the state title this year.”

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