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Kernel girls in eighth after first day at Class AA state tennis in Rapid City

The Kernels won six of their nine first-round matches on Thursday, including all three doubles matches. But points proved harder to come by in the later rounds of doubles play.

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Mitchell's Carsyn Weich, left, and Megan Mastel celebrate a point while competing in No. 2 doubles during the first day of the Class AA girls state tennis tournament on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022 at the Tennis Center of the Black Hills in Rapid City.
Matt Gade / Rapid City Journal
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RAPID CITY — Mitchell High School’s girls tennis got off to a solid start on Thursday at the Class AA state tournament, winning six of its nine first-round matches to open play. But points proved harder to come by in the later rounds of doubles play.

In the team standings, as of late on Thursday, Mitchell was in eighth place with 118 points. Sioux Falls Lincoln had the lead with 226 points, followed by Rapid City Stevens (200) and O’Gorman with 194 in third. Watertown had 175 points in fourth place, Brandon Valley at 165 points, Aberdeen Central had 148 points for sixth, followed by Sioux Falls Jefferson (120.5) and Mitchell (118).

A total of 14 teams are competing this week at Sioux Park and the Parkview Tennis Complex in Rapid City, but inclement weather moved matches indoors, including to the Tennis Center of the Black Hills, and changed up the schedule, moving the South Dakota High School Activities Association to prioritize the doubles bracket on Thursday night.

Mitchell’s three doubles teams all earned first-round wins. In Flight 1 doubles, seventh-seeded Amber Moller and Delaney Degen teammed up for a 10-6 win over Harrisburg’s Erika Starr and Mckenzie Vickery. Moller and Degen then played a quarterfinal match on Thursday night against No. 2-seeded Peyton Ogle and Alastrina Scott, of Rapid City Stevens, with Ogle and Scott winning 10-0. In the fifth-place bracket semifinals, Mitchell’s No. 1 doubles team faced Avery Summers and Samantha Smith, of Sioux Falls Jefferson, which Smith and Summers won 8-6, ending the Kernels’ tournament in the flight at seventh place.

The No. 2 doubles pairing of Megan Mastel and Carsyn Weich, who are seeded third in their bracket, cruised to a victory in the first round, winning 10-0 over Yankton’s Frannie Kouri and Paige Mitzel. Mastel and Weich were then knocked off by O’Gorman’s Cecelia Bender and Sydney Breit in the quarterfinals by a close score of 10-9 (11), sending the Kernel pair to the fifth-place bracket. There, Mitchell had an 8-5 win over Harrisburg’s Madelyn Eisenbeisz and Nicole Lin by an 8-5 score. Weich and Mastel then followed that with an 8-5 win in the fifth-place match, as well.

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At No. 3 doubles, sixth-seeded Elly Clement and Mia Larson won their first-round match against Brookings’ Elle Coplan and Anika Hooda by a 10-2 score. That set up a quarterfinal match against third-seeded pairing Julia Hedrick and Rachel Blackman, of Sioux Falls Lincoln, which was won by Hedrick and Blackman, 10-2. In the fifth-place semifinals, Clement and Larson were defeated 8-6, leaving Mitchell tied for seventh in the flight.

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Mitchell's Amber Moller returns a shot while competing in No. 1 singles action during the first day of the Class AA girls state tennis tournament on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022 at the Tennis Center of the Black Hills in Rapid City.
Matt Gade / Rapid City Journal

Mitchell finished the first round with a 3-3 team record in Thursday’s singles matches. Delaney Degen earned a victory at No. 2 singles in the first round of play on Thursday, defeating Harrisburg’s Erika Starr, 6-0, 4-6 and 10-4. (In championship round matches at the state tournament, a match tie-break is played instead of a full decisive third set.) Degen, who improved to 15-8 on the season, was set to face No. 2-seeded Sabrina Krajewski, of Yankton, in a quarterfinal match on Friday.

In her No. 3 singles match, Mitchell’s Carsyn Weich cruised into the state quarterfinals with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Yankton’s Megan Scott. Weich, the No. 3 seed in her bracket who improved to 22-3 on the season, will face No. 6 seed Leyla Meester of Watertown in the quarterfinal round.

Mitchell senior Ireland Blindauer, who was seeded eighth in her Flight 5 singles bracket, opened play with a three-set win over No. 9 seed Addison Bohy, of Harrisburg. Blindauer rallied back to win 6-7 (3), 6-3 and 10-3. She is now set to face No. 1-seeded Arabella Scott, of Rapid City Stevens in the quarterfinal round.

At No. 1 singles, Amber Moller dropped a first-round match to seventh-seeded Marie Pelletier, of Brandon Valley, by a score of 6-4, 6-2. Moller, the No. 10 seed in her bracket, will play a consolation semifinal matchup.

In the No. 6 singles flight, 10th-seeded Keera Kriech defeated No. 7 Maddie Childs, of Mitchell, by a score of 10-7, while Elly Clement suffered a 6-1, 6-3 loss at the hands of Harrisburg’s Madelyn Eisenbeisz in her first-round match at Flight 4 singles. Both Clement and Childs are now in the consolation semifinals.

Play is set to resume in Rapid City at 9 a.m. Central time on Friday morning.

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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