Repeat performance: Mitchell captures second consecutive Class A tennis title
RAPID CITY -- The Mitchell High School girls tennis team’s defense of its state championship was successful on Tuesday.
For the second straight year, the Kernels won the Class A state tournament. They won four singles titles and two doubles titles, as they successfully staved off Rapid City Christian to defend their state championship. Mitchell finished with 499 points, while the Comets came in with 440 points.
“The pressure has been on us all week being the frontrunners,” Mitchell coach Pat Moller said. “It’s just kind of a relief to finally get there and to avoid any major upsets that would have prevented us from achieving our goals.”
Olivia Huber won her second straight state title, albeit in a different flight. Competing in Flight 2 this season, No. 3 seed Huber took down top-seeded Nora Krajewski, of Yankton, in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.
“For her to come through and win at flight two is pretty remarkable,” Moller said. “To follow that up with another two doubles championship … she really played at a high level.”
As for the rest of the Kernels, their depth shined as always. Mitchell’s lone senior Kiersten Bathke ended her singles career with a state title, as well. As the Kernels and Rapid City Christian battled it out for the team championship, Bathke helped Mitchell’s cause with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Rapid City Christian’s Zeah Ryherd.
Julia Platt defended her top seed in Flight 4 by not dropping a set during the state tournament. She took down Pierre’s Jocelyn Corrales, 6-0, 6-4. Megan Mastel (Flight 6) earned Mitchell’s fourth singles state title, with the top seed winning 6-3, 6-3 over Huron’s Say Ma.
“Our depth was what brought us through all year long and we were just deeper than everybody else,” Moller said. “You look at our lineup and to win championships in singles at -- two, four, five and six -- that kind of shows that our depth is what brought us through.”
Mitchell’s high seeding paid off in doubles play, as well. Huber and Bathke each added another state title in a key 6-0, 6-3 win over Rapid City Christian at Flight 2 doubles. In Flight 3, Platt teamed with Delaney Degen for a 6-2, 6-1 win over Yankton.
Amber Moller (Flight 3) was a set away from a state title, but Pierre’s Marlee Shorter rallied to win in three sets, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Atlanta Stahle (Flight 1) dropped both of her matches on Tuesday, as she claimed fourth place.
“We had six solid girls playing tennis and we didn’t have any real weaknesses in our lineup,” Moller added.