Mitchell gymnastics takes first at Watertown Invite

The Mitchell High School gymnastics won the Watertown Invitational in convincing fashion.

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Mitchell's Kyra Gropper competes on floor during the Watertown Invitational gymnastics meet on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023 at the Watertown Civic Arena.
Roger Merriam / Watertown Public Opinion
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WATERTOWN, S.D. — Despite a difficult day on the balance beam, the Mitchell High School gymnastics team was strong in the other three facets on Saturday and won the Watertown Invitational in convincing fashion.

The Kernels scored 143.675 as a team, good for a win by 7.1 points over second-place and host Watertown (136.575). Brookings (134.125), Pierre (132.700) and Britton-Hecla (131.925) rounded out the top-five teams.

Mitchell coach Audra Rew said there's no excuses for what was an "off day" on beam.

"It was just not a normal Kernel beam day. I would compare our beam rotation to a basketball team missing every free throw," Rew said. "It happened and it’s behind us. Adversity makes stronger competitors and we will be better at the ESD and state meets."

Olivia Prunty won the vault with a score of 9.500, with Emily Moody finishing third (9.375) and Kyanna Gropper in fifth (9.125). Tessa Allen had Mitchell’s fourth qualifying score (8.925), good for eighth place.


Prunty and Kyanna Gropper shared the uneven bars title with scores of 9.050, with Kyra Gropper in third at 8.925 and Emily Moody at 8.675 for fourth place.

On floor exercise, Prunty won the event with a score of 9.575, followed by Aubrey Gelderman in second (9.500), Kyanna Gropper in third (9.475) and Emily Moody in a tie for fourth place (9.435).

"Floor was the highlight of the day. Aubrey, Kyanna and Emily all hit season-highs," Rew said.

The Kernels had their struggles on the balance beam, posting their lowest score of the season in the event at 33.075. Kyra Gropper had the team’s best score of 8.875, good for sixth place. Gelderman (8.375), Moody (7.950) and Prunty and Kyanna Gropper (both 7.875) rounded out Mitchell’s scoring in the event. Watertown’s Briana McElhany won the event (9.350).

Deuel’s Makia Moe was the all-around champion at the meet, with a score of 36.225, edging Prunty’s mark of 36.000. Kyanna Gropper was fourth (35.525) and Moody was sixth (35.425).

Mitchell will have its home finale for the regular season on Thursday, Jan. 26, when it hostz Madison and Brookings at the MEGA Gymnastics Center.

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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