Kernel tennis claims ESD crown: Mitchell has four champions during first-place finish
HARRISBURG -- The Mitchell High School girls tennis team was competitive in every flight on Tuesday at the Eastern South Dakota Conference tournament. As a result, it made the team score uncompetitive, as it claimed the ESD championship.
Mitchell had three champions, helping it score 332 points. Only Harrisburg (290) and Brandon Valley (271) were within striking distance of the Kernels. They placed in every flight, which includes making the championship match in all three doubles flights.
“We were behind the whole tournament,” MHS coach Pat Moller said after earning his second ESD title as a coach. “Our singles didn’t go as well as we hoped. … But to our girls credit, they regrouped and came together. … I just couldn’t be more pleased or proud of these girls.”
Atlanta Stahle set the tone in Flight 1, with a 10-7 win over Harrisburg’s Emma Rangel.
“That’s the second ESD singles champion I’ve had at Flight 1,” said Moller, who has been coaching for the past decade. “Her grit is unbelievable. … It was back-and-forth the whole match until she was up 8-7. She hadn’t won two in a row the whole match and she decided, I’m going to end it here. She went out and did it.”
Stahle earned a second conference title with Amber Moller, as they teamed up to win Flight 1 doubles. They faced three teams that they lost to during the regular season, and rallied from a 7-2 hole in the championship match to win 11-9.
“Just played really gritty tennis and wouldn’t give in,” Moller said. “To pull that out to end the tournament is just remarkable.”
Megan Mastel (Flight 6) earned Mitchell’s other singles win with a 10-3 victory over Adri Alexander. Its fourth title came in Flight 2 doubles, as Olivia Huber and Kiersten Bathke claimed first with a 10-6 win.
Bathke (Flight 5) took down Brandon Valley’s Kenzie Polasky, 8-4, to claim third place. Meanwhile, Huber (Flight 2) battled after a first-round loss to win the consolation bracket and finish in fifth place. Amber Moller (Flight 3) took fourth place in singles play.
Julia Platt frequented the championship matches for the Kernels. She claimed second place in Flight 4 singles and Flight 3 doubles, which she was partnered with Delaney Degen.
Mitchell competes in the Class A state tournament on Monday and Tuesday in Rapid City.