The Mitchell High School girls tennis team got in plenty of court time this weekend.
The Kernels competed at the Rapid City Invitational Thursday-through-Saturday, playing three duals and finishing second in the eight-team tournament.
Kernel coach Pat Moller looks forward to the invite each year and this year was no different.
“We go to the Rapid City Invite and comeback and we are playing better tennis than when we left,” Moller said. “So that’s really the focus for me is to get better and any success that we have is a bonus.”
The second-place finish was also better than Moller expected. Rapid City Stevens finished first with 197 points, while the Kernels recorded 125.5 points.
“That’s the highest finish our girls have ever had at the Rapid City Invite,” Moller added. “Kudos to them for embracing the grind and performing as highly as they did.”
In dual action, the Kernels defeated Rapid City Christian (6-3) and St. Thomas More (9-0). Mitchell lost to Stevens (6-3).
Moller mentioned the Christian dual was a good measuring stick, saying the Comets will likely be Mitchell’s toughest competition in Class A this season. Christian’s Ella Hancock, who Moller said is the best player he’s watched this season, took the No. 1 singles match against Atlanta Stahle (10-2). But the Kernels won four of the next five singles matches, along with two doubles matches.
“I think we matchup pretty well with them,” Moller said. “Hopefully when it comes to the state tournament we can come out on top.”
Olivia Huber (No. 2 singles), Julia Platt (No. 4), Kiersten Bathke (No. 5) and Megan Mastel (No. 6) all won their respective singles matches against Christian. Huber/Bathke (No. 2 doubles) and Platt/Delaney Degen (No. 3) won doubles matches.
Against Stevens, Platt and Mastel scored singles victories. Platt/Degen won their doubles match. In tourney play, Huber/Bathke (No. 2 doubles) and Platt/Degen (No. 3 doubles) captured titles. In singles matches, Bathke (No. 5) and Mastel (No. 6) finished second in their respective flights.
“Our two and three doubles are playing really, really well,” Moller said. “… I just like our depth. I really do. I like the way everybody is playing and we are continuing to improve.”
Up next, the Kernels host Sioux Falls O’Gorman and Watertown at 10 a.m. Thursday at Hitchcock Park.