Kernels break school scoring record in final flourish at Class AA individual day
Four top Kernel gymnasts finished in the top-six of the all-around scoring and Mitchell had a pair of runner-up finishes in the event titles.
ABERDEEN — The Mitchell High School gymnastics squad performed Saturday like they were trying to win the state team title again.
They snapped a 15-year school record in the process.
Only individual honors were on the line, but the Kernels’ talent and depth was on full display again at Golden Eagles Arena as Mitchell was well-represented on the medal stand at the Class AA individual competition.
The Kernel foursome of Emily Moody, Olivia Prunty, Kyanna Gropper and Kyra Gropper each finished in the top-six of the individual all-around scoring, with Kyanna Gropper taking second on balance beam and Bentley Bates taking second on the uneven bars.
All told, if there would have been team scoring on Saturday, Mitchell would have scored 150.918 points, a new school record for a meet, coach Audra Rew said. The Kernels won the state title on Friday for the second time in three years with a score of 148.550. The previous MHS team record was 150.625 points set in 2008.
“I really couldn’t have asked for more out of these two days,” Rew said. “We got to compete six girls in each event but we will put it on the record board and note that we did it on an individual day at the state meet because that’s a huge score. They should get credit for that. We’ve said for two years that they could break that record.”
Senior Emily Moody led the way for the Kernels in the all-around scoring with 37.400 for third place, with Kyanna Gropper in fourth place (37.317), Olivia Prunty in fifth place (37.100) and sixth place to Kyra Gropper (36.817). Each of them were all-tournament selections from the South Dakota Gymnastics Coaches Association.
“Kyanna, she is so talented but she hasn’t been putting it all together on the same day all season but we knew she had that potential to be phenomenal. She laid it all out there,” Rew said of the freshman gymnast.
As for the overall titles, a pair of all-time efforts from O’Gorman’s gymnastics stars stole the show. In the first rotation, Maeve Boetel broke the state’s vault record, posting a 9.967 with her routine. Two of the three judges on the vault gave her perfect 10s, while the third posted a 9.90 for a score. She broke the Class AA meet record held by Alex Hughes, of O’Gorman, in 2004 with a 9.950. Boetel, a senior, won the Class AA all-around title with a score of 39.183, which is exactly what she scored last year when she won the title, and won on beam with a 9.733 and on bars with a 9.667.
O'Gorman's Maeve Boetel broke a state record for vault on Saturday at the state gymnastics meet.— SDPB Sports (@SDPBSports) February 11, 2023
Her score of 9.967 is the best mark ever given to a South Dakota high school athlete for the event, in either class.#SDGymnastics23 #SDPreps pic.twitter.com/pkBT4VIORE
“Coming into today, I was just trying to focus on how it’s my last meet and I just wanted to enjoy it and have as much fun as I could,” Boetel said. “It’s a plus to have done as well as I did. … When I saw those 10s go up, I was so excited.”
Teammate Audrey Meyer was the state champion on floor exercise with a 9.900 score, which broke the Class AA state meet record, as well. Meyer, a senior, was second on the all-around chart with a 37.950 score.
“You just have to reset your mind. We knew what we were capable of … and we came in here and gave it everything we could one more time,” Meyer said.
Bentley Bates, the Kernels’ uneven bars specialist, scored a 9.617 finishing in second place, a half-tenth behind Boetel for the title (9.667). Kyra Gropper was third (9.400), Prunty was fourth (9.233) and Kyanna Gropper was fifth (9.217). Emily Moody took seventh in the event and Harley Goldammer was tied for 11th with an 8.700.
On beam, Kyanna Gropper had the Kernels’ best score with a 9.450, taking second place. Sidney Malde (9.350) earned sixth place and Emily Moody (9.300) was seventh. Aubrey Gelderman had a 9.100 score, with Kyra Gropper posting 9.000 and an 8.583 from Olivia Prunty.
Malde, a sophomore, set the tone for the day with the very first routine of the day.
“Sidney, she’s always been a good beamer for us,” Rew said. “We really needed her to hit because it’s something she can carry into next year. I hope it will inspire her next year and we will need her to fill some senior shoes next year.”
Prunty posted a 9.767 on floor, which was the leading score until the Knights came through on their last rotation, leaving Prunty in third place. Moody had a 9.750 on floor to take fourth place. Bates logged a 9.667 on floor for eighth place, Aubrey Gelderman had a 9.650 for ninth place. Kyanna Gropper logged a 9.383 and her sister, Kyra, had a 9.233 on floor to round out the Kernel scorers.
In the vault competition, Olivia Prunty had Mitchell’s best score with a 9.517, good for fourth place in the event. Prunty was followed by Moody in fifth place (9.450) and Kyanna Gropper (9.267) in seventh place. Kyra Gropper had a 9.183 for 10th place, Just off the final podium, Tessa Allen scored a 9.100 and took 11th and Lainee Forst had a 9.067 to take 12th place.
“We still had some mistakes and I know there are some disappointments for the kids in not finishing where they wanted in certain events but it’s a great life lesson. You don’t give up until it’s over. We had kids that had mistakes and they still pushed and they got great finishes.”