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Mitchell girls post perfect day on the way to ESD middle school title

Playing on their home court, the Kernels swept the six singles brackets

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Mitchell's Ava Prunty prepares to return a shot in a No. 5 singles match during the Eastern South Dakota Conference middle school girls tennis tournament on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022 at Hitchcock Park in Mitchell.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — The Mitchell Kernels showed off their depth and dominance in the Eastern South Dakota Conference middle school girls tennis meet on Thursday at Hitchcock Park, going undefeated as a team and claiming all six singles flights titles.

Mitchell's Mia Larson (No. 1), Katie Morgan (No. 2), Matteah Graves (No. 3), Elliot Smith (No. 4), Ava Prunty (No. 5) and Taryn Bultje (No. 6) each won their flights in the nine-team tournament. Collectively, the group of seventh- and eighth-graders was 18-for-18 in winning their matches, scoring a total of 315 team points.

Brandon Valley was second in the team standings with 166 points, followed by Aberdeen Central with 164, Huron in fourth at 158.25 points and Watertown in fifth place at 140.75.

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Mitchell's Matteah Graves prepares to return a shot in a No. 3 singles match during the Eastern South Dakota Conference middle school girls tennis tournament on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022 at Hitchcock Park in Mitchell.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

At Flight 1, the eighth-grader Larson dropped only one game in the 10-game pro-set match format, winning 10-0 twice before a 10-1 win over Aberdeen Central's Maddy Holman in the championship round. Morgan, the Kernel eighth-grader, won 10-0 in the quarterfinals, 10-2 in the semifinals and 10-2 over Watertown's Savannah Sovell in her championship match at No. 2 singles.

Matteah Graves, an eighth-grader, had perfect 10-0 scores in her first two matches at No. 3 singles prior to a 10-4 win over Brandon Valley's Lizzy Pitz for the bracket title. Elliot Smith dropped only three games on the day at No. 4 singles as a seventh-grader, including a 10-2 win over Quynn Holter, of Brandon Valley in the title match.

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At Flight 5, seventh-grader Ava Prunty had a 10-6 win over Brandon Valley's Grace Dew in the title round, which followed a pair of 10-1 early round victories. Fellow seventh-grader Taryn Bultje won 10-5, 10-5 and 10-4 on the day to claim the Flight 6 bracket title, including the 10-4 win over Brandon Valley's Ella McCarthy.

Mitchell will host the ESD girls varsity tournament on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at Hitchcock Park, with play scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.

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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