SIOUX FALLS -- The Mitchell High School gymnastics team passed its first test of the season after leaving as champions of the Lolly Forseth Invitational on Saturday at Sioux Falls Lincoln High School.
The Kernels did not leave much room for separation, however, as they edged reigning state champion Watertown by 0.3 points to secure the win. Watertown boasted the top-two finishers in the all-around -- defending Class AA champion Myah Morris (37.325) and Brooke Bollinger (35.725) -- but Mitchell had at least two gymnasts in the top-10 of every event to record 141.40 points.
"It's good for our spirits and it's good to know where we stand, but February is when it really counts," MHS head coach Audra Rew said. "We know we have work to do and we know it's going to be tough to stay ahead of Watertown throughout the season. It's fun to be able to go out and say, 'We're one of the top teams' and it gives the kids confidence. I think to win, knowing we weren't perfect helps their ability to go back to the gym and work hard on those skills they know they can do."
Emily Moody was the top finisher for the Kernels in the all-around, placing ninth with 33.70 points. She tied teammate Alyssa Hughes for second in the vault with 9.150 points, while also
taking third in the floor exercise with a 9.425 and fourth in the uneven bars with an 8.625.
Mitchell placed three in the top-10 in three events. Kyra Gropper placed second in the bars at 8.975 and Hughes was third, 1.50 points ahead of Moody. Meanwhile, Joslin Sommerville finished sixth with an 8.475.
Chelsey Mohr’s eighth-place finish in the vault allowed her to join Moody and Hughes in the top-10, while Gracie Czmowski was sixth in the floor (9.275) and Gropper tied for ninth (9.150).
Czmowski also earned third in the beam with a score of 9.425 and Masy Mock took sixth at 8.975.
"It was a team effort," Rew said. "I wouldn't say there was an individual routine that stood out to me. Chelsey Mohr has not competed before and she had some great routines. She did bars and vault and that's exciting to see. When you've never competed, to see her do well and do as expected. I had a seventh-grader (Sommerville) that has obviously never competed before. She did exactly what I expected her to do in her floor routine and then she placed in bars."
Meanwhile, Morris won each individual event for Watertown, while Bollinger was in the top-10 in three of four events, but only two other Arrows placed in the top-10 in an event.
Mitchell hosts Sioux Falls Lincoln and Yankton in a triangular at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at MEGA.