SIOUX FALLS -- Masy Mock has witnessed both ends of the spectrum as a Mitchell Kernel golfer.
As a seventh-grader, Mock and the Kernels finished 16th at the Class AA state tournament. But they steadily improved each season and it culminated with Tuesday’s runner-up finish at the state meet.
“I really look back on my seventh-grade year and we got dead last at state,” Mock said. “I am not even exaggerating. It was at the home course, and to think we were in the running for first is pretty cool, and getting second is obviously awesome for us.”
Mitchell carded a two-day total of 657 at Bakker Crossing Golf Course, finishing 35 shots behind Sioux Falls O’Gorman (622). It’s the best finish in school history for the Kernels, whose previous best finish was third in 2003.
“It’s obviously a special team,” Mitchell coach Mark Horan said. “It starts with talent, but the biggest factor is dedication and the willingness to work hard. We prepared so hard for this event.”
On Monday, O’Gorman fired a 309 to take a 21-shot lead over Mitchell into Tuesday. With such a daunting deficit, the Kernels focused on securing second place ahead of Aberdeen Central.
The Kernels, who also won the Eastern South Dakota Conference meet this season, shot a 327 on Tuesday. The Golden Eagles carded a 333 for the second day in a row, allowing Mitchell to finish nine shots ahead for the runner-up spot.
“We had a long meeting last night about what our mentality is going to be like,” Mitchell freshman Quinn Dannenbring said. “We knew it was almost impossible to catch them, but we finished sixth (in 2019) and so we were just going for a better result.”
Individually, Harrisburg’s Reese Jansa concluded a dominant performance with an 8-under-par 134. After shooting a 66 on Monday, the junior shot a 68 on Tuesday to run away with the championship. She finished 11 shots ahead of Sioux Falls O’Gorman’s Shannon McCormick, who placed second with a 145.
For the Kernels, Mock, Dannenbring and freshman Allison Meyerink all finished in the top-25. Mock concluded her career with a fifth-place finish and scored an 11-over-par 153. She shot a 75 on Monday and a 77 on Tuesday.
Dannenbring tied for 12th with a 20-over-par 162, while Meyerink tied for 18th with a 26-over-par 168. Dannenbring shot 81s both days, while Meyerink shaved eight shots off Monday’s 88 for an 80 on Tuesday.
“Masy is just a solid, talented golfer and Quinn and Allison are two super freshmen who have extremely bright futures,” said Horan, who credited assistant coach Jeff Meyerink for his guidance all season.
Horan also praised the rest of the Kernels for their performance at state. Seventh-grader Maddie Childs shot a 174 and that was instrumental in the runner-up finish, said Horan.
“We held onto second place and to tell you the truth, a big factor in that was Maddie Childs had a super performance both days of the state tournament, and was a big factor in that second-place finish,” Horan said.
Sophomore Lara Widstrom (182) and senior Ella Flippin (194) placed 38th and 58th, respectively, to round out the Kernel golfers.
“It really was a team effort,” Mock added. “Everyone pulled through for it and they did a great job.”
The Kernels will only graduate Mock and Flippin from this year’s team, while a host of underclassmen are waiting in the wings.
“We have so many girls with so much potential,” Dannenbring said. “It’s going to be special these next three years. We are excited.”