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Kernels place six at individual state gymnastics meet

ABERDEEN -- The day had its ups and downs but the Mitchell Kernel gymnastics team found itself well-represented on the state meet individual podium on Saturday.

Mitchell's Alyssa Hughes performs her balance beam routine during the Class AA state individual competition Saturday in Aberdeen. (Marcus Traxler/Republic)
Mitchell's Alyssa Hughes performs her balance beam routine during the Class AA state individual competition Saturday in Aberdeen. (Marcus Traxler/Republic)

ABERDEEN -- The day had its ups and downs but the Mitchell Kernel gymnastics team found itself well-represented on the state meet individual podium on Saturday.

Sophomore Maria Krall pulled in a fifth place all-around finish and was joined by seventh-grader Alyssa Hughes and senior Josie Dierks in medaling in the all-around format during the Class AA state individual competition at Golden Eagles Arena in Saturday.

After earning state runner-up honors on Friday, Mitchell coach Audra Rew said she hoped that the Kernels would be a bit better in the individual competition but it didn’t all come together.

“It’s hard to come back and be at your best two days in a row. This is the toughest meet of the year for so many reasons and a two-day meet is part of that,” Mitchell coach Audra Rew said. “I think we have some kids that will have some regrets but it’s hard to be perfect.”

Mitchell’s forte has always been the team format at the state meet and Rew said it can be difficult to transition to the only event on the season schedule where there is no team element.

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Nevertheless, the Kernels made their presence known and it started with the sophomore standout Krall.

Krall's best event was the floor exercise, in which she scored a 9.4 and finished in fourth place. She placed in every event, including a sixth-place score (9.2) on the balance beam, ninth place on vault (8.825) and was 12th on uneven bars (8.750). The performance improved upon her sixth-place all-around score at the 2016 state championships. Krall nearly stuck a terrific flipping landing on bars, which Rew said would have added as much as a half-point to her score.

“She took that risk but it was still worth it,” Rew said. “She was great on floor, her beam routine was really solid and it’s a great finish to her season.”

Hughes finished 10th in the all-around race. She was seventh in the uneven parallel bars (8.875) and 15th on floor exercise, scoring a 9.1. Dierks finished in 15th in the all-around, led by a top-five finish in the floor exercise (9.35) and she was 11th on vault (8.8).

Also placing for Mitchell was Bailey Roden, who finished eighth on the vault (8.85). Gracie Czmowski and Masy Mock both placed on the balance beam, where Czmowski finished 11th (9.0) and Mock was 13th (8.9).

Rew said the efforts by the younger gymnasts -- Hughes, Czmowski and Mock are all eighth-graders or younger -- should only set the table for next season.

“They all went out there and just did their thing,” Rew said. “It was a lot of fun to watch and knowing them, I think it will only drive them this offseason and into next year.”

Rapid City Stevens' Jordan Huneke stole the show in the Class AA all-around race. She had a 9.775 uneven bars score to win the event and scored no less than a 9.550 in the other three events, including a 9.6 in the vault. Huneke won the all-around title with a score of 38.475. Watertown seventh-grade phenom Myah Morris was second, scoring 37.950 in the all-around, winning the vault with a 9.725. Yankton's Payton Steffensen won the floor exercise with a 9.6 and was third in the all-around and O'Gorman's Lizzie Miller was fourth overall and won the balance beam with a 9.575.

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Class A: Krouse finishes third in all-around On the Class A front, Montrose's Jocelyn Krouse capped her season with a third-place finish in the all-around race, scoring 36.150 points. Krouse was nothing but consistent on the day, finishing in the top-four in each of the four disciplines. She was second in the uneven bars (8.85), third on both beam (9.1) and vault (9.025) and fourth on floor (9.175).

Krouse was slightly off the pace set by Madison's Jenni Giles, who won the state all-around championship with a score of 36.875 and who held of Deuel's Morgan Kwasniewski's score of 36.825 points. It is the third consecutive Class A all-around championship for the Bulldog junior Giles.

Giles won the vault (9.3) and floor (9.525), while Kwasniewski was tops on beam (9.475) and bars (9.150).

Other area athletes to medal in the all-around included Tyra Zens, of Parkston/Ethan/Hanson, who finished in seventh place (34.625) and Chamberlain's Ciara Hough was the top Cub with a 32.15, good for 15th place. Hough’s best score came with a ninth-place finish on vault (8.75).

Zens placed in every event, scoring fifth on uneven bars (8.675), sixth on vault (8.85), 11th on floor exercise (8.85) and 14th on beam (8.25). PEH teammate McKenzie Prunty placed on balance beam, scoring 8.225, good for 15th place.

Related Topics: KERNELSGYMNASTICS
Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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