Kernels claim Class AA state team gymnastics title for eighth time in school history

Mitchell prevailed by three-tenths of a point to claim the championship for the second time in three seasons.

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The Mitchell High School gymnastics team reacts after learning it won the Class AA state team competition on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023 at Golden Eagles Arena in Aberdeen.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

ABERDEEN -- It was a close call on Friday, but Mitchell High School added to its gymnastics legend once again.

The Kernels emerged with the Class AA state championship by three-tenths of a point over rival O'Gorman at Golden Eagles Arena at Aberdeen Central High School, marking the second championship in the last three seasons.

Mitchell finished with 148.550 points, just ahead of O'Gorman with 148.250 points. Harrisburg, which was also among the contenders heading to the final rotation, finished third with 146.183 points.

It is Mitchell's eighth Class AA state gymnastics title since 2007, adding to the school's proud history of championships under coach Audra Rew. Mitchell also claimed titles in 2007, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2021.

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Mitchell's Olivia Prunty, right, is hugged by her teammates, from left, Bentley Bates and Kyanna Gropper, during the Class AA state team gymnastics competition on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023 at Golden Eagles Arena in Aberdeen.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

It was the closest state championship victory for Mitchell since 2014, when the Kernels won in the same venue in Aberdeen by 0.075 points over Rapid City Central.


While the Kernels tried to keep their eyes on the current season, the victory exacts a mark of revenge for 2022, when the Knights won the Class AA team title by six-tenths of a point at the Corn Palace, spoiling Mitchell's bid for a home championship.

“The camaraderie and the talent level of these girls is special,” Mitchell coach Audra Rew said. “The mental strength is amazing. I've probably used some of these examples for a long time now, that you can have a bad routine or a fall but you can hang in there and battle to the end and have the reward for that hard work."

It was the closest margin of victory all year for Mitchell, which defeated O’Gorman by four-tenths at home in December.

Rew said she’s grateful that all of the team members get to experience the state championship, but particularly the team’s four seniors: Tessa Allen, Kyra Gropper, Emily Moody and Lara Widstrom.

“They’ve worked so hard and they deserve to get to go out like this,” Rew said. “They wanted to end their careers with a state championship.”

Both Gropper and Moody were members of the 2018 state championship team as seventh-graders. Rew said she talked with Gropper prior to Friday’s meet about bookending her career with state titles.

“It’s a perfect end to my career, a perfect book end.” Gropper said.

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
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