Mitchell High School girls tennis makes it a Class A championship three-peat
The Mitchell High School girls tennis team wins the Class A state tournament for the third year in a row.
SIOUX FALLS -- The Mitchell High School girls tennis team defended its state title successfully Tuesday, crowning them Class A state champions for the third straight year.
The Kernels won three singles titles and two doubles titles, holding off Rapid City Christian at McKennan Park and Kuehn Park in Sioux Falls. Mitchell finished with 499.5 points, while the Comets came in second with 408 points.
It is the most team points Mitchell has scored in its run of state titles, and the largest margin of the three championships as well, winning 2019's title by eight points, then by 59 in 2020 before a 91.5-point margin in 2021. The Kernels have won all three Class A girls team tennis titles since the split into two classes for the 2019 season.
“These girls were the favorites coming into state and it seemed to bring out the best tennis in a lot of different teams and a lot of different players,” Mitchell coach Pat Moller said. “To overcome that and elevate their game and come out on top is a testament to them, the coaching staff and everybody that’s worked so hard to give them this opportunity.”
Megan Mastel, who plays at Flight 6 singles, won both the semifinals and championship convincingly, giving Mitchell its first singles title of the day. She beat Pierre’s Carissa Ott 6-2, 6-0 in the semifinals and rolled past Yankton’s Paige Mitzel in the championship 6-0, 6-1.
Sydney Reynolds earned Mitchell’s second singles title, beating Huron’s Say Ma in the semifinal 6-2, 7-5 and taking down Pierre’s Caitlin Ott in the Flight 5 championship 6-0, 6-2.
Julia Platt defended her Flight 4 state title from last season by winning in straight sets in the semifinals and championship. She took down Huron’s Bethany Engelhart in the semifinals 6-3, 6-1 and beat St. Thomas More’s Katelyn Denholm 6-2, 6-3 in the championship.
Mitchell’s depth was on display all season and at state this year, it continued. Flights 4-6 singles won all their matches individually, along with Flights 2 and 3 at doubles securing first-place finishes.
“Our numbers have been strong,” Moller said. “All year long, we’ve had eight girls that are really good tennis players that would play in upper flights on a lot of different teams. That depth is what’s carried us through the last several years and it did this year.”
In Flight 3 singles, Amber Moller was one set away from advancing to the championship. She lost to Rapid City Christian’s Zeah Ryherd 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, but earned a third-place finish with a 10-5 win over Lennox’s Madison Johnson.
Flight 1 singles player Atlanta Stahle won the third-place matchup over Milbank’s Hattie Muellenbach 10-2. This came after she lost the semifinal round to Yankton’s Maggie Schaefer 6-3, 6-1.
Olivia Huber, who was looking for her own individual three-peat at the Class A state tournament, finished runner-up in the Flight 2 singles. She took down Pierre’s Marlee Shorter 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinal round, but lost a three-set match to Yankton’s Nora Krajewski 4-6, 7-5, 6-0.
These two seniors finished with a combined record of 42-15 and Moller said these two will be missed in every way.
“They’ve been great leaders all year long,” Moller said. “Them along with Julia Platt and Sydney Reynolds have shown their leadership. Whenever we needed something, they were there for us. You just can’t replace that experience, they're going to be missed going into next year.”
As for doubles play, Mitchell came out on top in Flight 2 and 3. In Flight 1, Stahle and Huber lost to Rapid City Christian’s Ella Hancock and Hannah Beckloff 6-0, 6-0. Mitchell bounced back in the third-place finals, taking down Pierre’s Sydney Tedrow and Kara Weiss 10-5.
In Flight 3 doubles, Mastel and Degen beat Huron’s Say May and Ann Hoek in straight sets 6-2, 6-0. They went on to win the championship over Rapid City Christian’s Ryherd and Allison Hill 6-4, 6-1.
Moller and Reynolds rolled past Huron’s Bianca Medina and Bethany Engelhart in the Flight 2 doubles semifinals 6-2, 6-1. In the championship round against St. Thomas More’s Sylvie Mortimer and Katelyn Denholm, Mitchell came out victorious, winning 6-1, 6-4.
By achieving the rare feat of three-peating in any fashion, Moller said it wasn’t easy and being the team everyone was looking to knock off, was difficult to overcome. He’s not sure how the team will celebrate, but he’s grateful of what the program has accomplished and this is a season he will forever remember.
“We’re just going to sit back and admire what these girls have done,” Moller said. “They’re the ones that put in all the time in the offseason, they’re the ones that played all summer long, they’re the ones that got up early in the mornings … I’m just grateful that everything paid off for them and they’re able to achieve this goal.”
Class A state girls tennis tournament
Final results — Monday-Tuesday in Sioux Falls
Team scores: 1. Mitchell 499.5, 2. Rapid City Christian 408, 3. Yankton 406.5, 4. Pierre 289, 5. St. Thomas More 249.5, 6. Huron 195, 7. Vermillion 156.5, 8. Aberdeen Roncalli 104, 9. Lennox 99.5, 10. Madison 86, 11. Milbank 79.5, 12. Sioux Falls Christian 76.5, 13. Spearfish 69.5.
Mitchell individual results
Flight 1 - No. 3 seed Atlanta Stahle: First round: bye. Quarterfinals: Stahle def. No. 6 Athena Franciliso (STM), 6-2, 6-1. Semifinals: No. 2 Maggie Schaefer (YAN) def. Stahle, 6-3, 6-1. Third place: Stahle def. No. 4 Hattie Muellenbach (MIL), 10-2.
Flight 2 - No. 2 seed Olivia Huber: First round: bye. Quarterfinals: Huber def. No. 7 Savanah Shipley (MAD), 6-2, 6-1. Semifinals: Huber def. No. 3 Marlee Shorter (PIE), 6-3, 6-3. Championship: No. 1 Nora Krajewski (YAN) def. Huber, 4-6, 7-5, 6-0.
Flight 3 - No. 2 seed Amber Moller: First round: bye. Quarterfinals: Moller def. No. 7 Sophia Meyer (STM), 6-3, 2-6, 10-7. Semifinals: No. 3 Zeah Ryherd (RCH) def. Moller, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Third place: Moller def. No. 5 Madison Johnson (LEN), 10-5.
Flight 4 - No. 1 seed Julia Platt: First round: bye. Quarterfinals: Platt def. No. 9 Marion Mischel (MIL), 6-0, 6-1. Semifinals: Platt def. No. 5 Bethany Englehurt (HUR), 6-0, 6-1. Championship: Platt def. No. 3 Katelyn Denholm (STM), 6-2, 6-3.
Flight 5 - No. 1 seed Sydney Reynolds: First round: bye. Quarterfinals: Reynolds def. No. 9 Mya Halverson (VER), 6-1, 6-3. Semifinals: Reynolds def. No. 4 Say Ma (HUR), 6-2, 7-5. Championship: Reynolds def. No. 6 Caitlin Ott (PIE), 6-0, 6-2.
Flight 6 - No. 1 seed Megan Mastel: First round: bye. Quarterfinals: Mastel def. No. 8 Madison Buehner (LEN), 6-0, 6-2. Semifinals: Mastel def. No. 5 Carissa Ott (PIE), 6-2, 6-0. Championship: Mastel def. No. 6 Paige Mitzel (YAN), 6-0, 6-1.
Flight 1 - No. 3 seed Atlanta Stahle and Olivia Huber: First round: bye. Quarterfinals: Stahle/Huber def. No. 6 Emma Jury and Annika Barnett (VER), 6-0, 6-0. Semifinals: No. 2 Hancock/Beckloff (RCH) def. Stahle/Huber, 6-0, 6-0; Third place: Stahle/Huber def. Tedrow/Weiss (PIE), 10-5.
Flight 2 - No. 1 seed Amber Moller and Sydney Reynolds: First round: bye. Quarterfinals: Moller/Reynolds def. No. 9 Ciera Crawford and Riley Geyer (RCH), 6-1, 6-1. Semifinals: Moller/Reynolds def. No. 5 Medina/Engelhart (HUR), 6-1, 6-4. Championship: Moller/Reynolds def. No. 6 Mortimer/Denholm (STM), 6-1, 6-4.
Flight 3 - No. 1 seed Megan Mastel and Delaney Degen: First round: bye. Quarterfinals: Mastel/Degen def. No. 9 Saige Jorgensen and Mya Halverson (VER), 6-0, 6-1. Semifinals: Mastel/Degen def. No. 4 Ma/Hoek (HUR), 6-2, 6-0; Championship: Mastel/Degen def. No. 3 Ryherd/Hill (RCH), 6-4, 6-1.