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MHS gymnasts capture second place at state

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Mitchell's Alyssa Hughes competes on the vault during the state gymnastics meet on Friday at the Swiftel Center in Brookings. (Matt Gade / Republic)2 / 4
Mitchell's Harley Goldammer competes on the bars during the Class AA state gymnastics meet on Friday at the Swiftel Center in Brookings. (Matt Gade / Republic)3 / 4
Mitchell's Kyra Gropper, second from right, is congratulated after her performance on the beam during the Class AA state gymnastics meet on Friday at the Swiftel Center in Brookings. (Matt Gade / Republic)4 / 4

BROOKINGS -- Two Eastern South Dakota Conference foes went head-to-head once again on Friday for the Class AA state gymnastics title.

In the state competition, it was rival Watertown that emerged with the championship over the Mitchell High School gymnastics team, as the Arrows finished with 147.225 points, while the Kernels recorded 144.500 points at the Swiftel Center in Brookings.

“They were relaxed and they just kind of put in the cherry on top in their performances and we didn’t quite have that wow factor in our performances like they did,” Mitchell coach Audra Rew said of the winning Arrows. “But you know what, it motivates us for next year and we have a young team. I am excited to see what they can come back and do.”

The Arrows’ victory denied Mitchell’s bid for a second-straight state title and its fifth in the last six seasons. The two gymnastics powers battled it out all season, with both finishing first or second all season long against each other. The trend continued at state, with Watertown coming out on top.

“It’s a little disappointing,” Mitchell senior Maria Krall said. “But we went out and we tried our best, and that’s all really we can ask for at the end of the day. We did everything we could and things just didn’t go our way.”

Mitchell was coming off an ESD crown over Watertown on Feb. 2 in Brookings. Watertown, however, captured the state title for the second time in three seasons on Friday.

“They were definitely on,” Krall said of Watertown. “I think our nerves just got the best of us (Friday). Honestly, we did get under scored on some things, but you can’t change that. We just tried to ignore scores and just like keep a positive attitude throughout the whole meet.”

Rew said she could feel some nerves from the Kernels and that led to some minor miscues. Mitchell started with the floor exercise, followed by vault, bars and closing on beam.

“We didn’t have huge mistakes,” Rew said. “But didn’t really get the big scores like we did last week. But I was really proud. They came back and it was the first time all season we hit all five beams.”

Rew praised Krall’s day, after saying she didn’t have the best day at the ESD meet on Feb. 2.

“She could have really gotten nervous (Friday),” Rew said. “She knows there is a lot of pressure on her and that’s a hard position to be in. It’s her senior year. Everybody expects you to be the best on the team and you want to win. She really stepped up and stayed calm and did awesome routines. That beam routine she finished with was amazing.”

Krall finished with a 9.4 on the beam, while Kyra Gropper scored a 9.25. In the floor, Krall scored a 9.175, Gropper had a 9.15 and Kaylee Bauder finished with a 9.05. Alyssa Hughes scored an 8.925, while Masy Mock had an 8.525.  

In the vault, Hughes led the Kernels with a 9.175 and Kailee Henglefelt scored a 9.025. Krall  had an 8.925.

Mitchell now shift its focus to the individual competition, which starts at 10:30 a.m. today. Rew said Mock jammed her thumb on Friday and her status for today is uncertain.