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The Mitchell Junior Tennis Classic is a staple each summer and it returned to Hitchcock Park yet again, Friday through Sunday. Twenty-six Mitchell players comprised more than half of the 51-player field—ranging from 12 to 18 years old—and it was evident in the standings, with eight championships out of the 14 divisions. Participants were slightly down from 54 last year, but Mitchell High School head coach Pat Moller attributes some of that to tournaments being held in Rapid City and Sioux Falls simultaneously.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is the first in a series examining the status of the Mitchell High School boys basketball program. Todd Neuendorf expects to win. As the head coach of Aberdeen Roncalli, he won a lot. When he was hired to take the reins of the Mitchell High School boys basketball program in 2017, it was expected to be a perfect fit since the Kernels had a history of winning a lot.
The high school football season is more than two months away, but Mitchell High School has already started gearing up for the 2019 campaign. The Kernels have begun their annual Monday Night Football sessions, which have varied over the years based on personnel and availability and this year is no different.
PIERRE—South Dakota prep sports are attempting to stay ahead of the curve. That's how South Dakota High School Activities Association Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand explained it after the board of directors unanimously approved a variety of key agenda items on Thursday, including implementing instant replay in state championship football and basketball games. Both items were expected to be resoundingly passed prior to the meeting, but it was important to Krogstrand to begin use of replay immediately, rather than waiting a year or two.
PIERRE—Landscape-altering changes could be on the horizon for South Dakota high school athletics. Among the items on the agenda for today's South Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors meeting is the addition of instant replay in football and basketball state championship games. The addition of instant replay in football was voted unanimously following the first reading of the amendment, as was basketball and SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand does not envision that changing.
For years, the best high school players in the country dedicated their summers to American Legion baseball. In 2000, there were more than 4,000 Legion baseball teams throughout the country. The rise of showcase baseball teams, single-sport specialization and the decline in youth sports in general have eroded some Legion baseball programs, particularly in metropolitan areas.
SIOUX FALLS—Augustana University softball coach Gretta Melsted designed a team built on specific roles for each player. Mitchell High School alumna Becca Koupal was one of those role players, but she could have chosen another school that allotted more playing time and a larger role during her freshman season. Instead, Koupal opted to attend Augustana—as one of three South Dakota natives on the roster—and capped her freshman season on Wednesday at a ceremony to honor the NCAA Division II national champion Vikings in the Elmen Center.
SIOUX FALLS—Endurance is not typically in the repertoire of a sprinter. McCook Central/Montrose junior Jacy Pulse was entered in four sprinting events—the 100 and 200-meter dashes and the 100 and 300-meter hurdles—in the SDHSAA Class A Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Howard Wood Field. To win all four races in one day, mental and physical endurance was needed.
SIOUX FALLS—Winning four state titles is hard to duplicate for Collin Helma. Last season, Helma won the Class B boys 400-meter dash and was a member of three state championship relay teams for Freeman. But this season, the sophomore went solo and waltzed into Saturday's state track and field meet among the favorites in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races.
SIOUX FALLS—Kimball/White Lake cruised to the Class B state championship in the girls 1,600-meter sprint medley relay last season. With the graduation of Sage Pulse, Kennedy Leiferman, Dani Deffenbaugh and Christine Gaulke returned Saturday to help give the WiLdKats a chance to repeat as state champions on Saturday in SDHSAA Track and Field Championships at Howard Wood Field.