Apr. 1—The Mitchell High School girls golf team finally gets to capitalize on its sixth-place finish at the 2019 state tournament.
Entering the 2020 season, the Kernels were coming off their best finish at state since 2003. However, they couldn't continue the momentum as COVID-19 wiped away the spring season.
"We just talked to the girls about the fact they were deprived of a season last year and they really want to make the most of this year," Mitchell coach Mark Horan said.
Mitchell didn't have a senior on the roster last season and it will be a solid mix of young and old to the roster.
"I think we're pretty good," Horan said. "We've got the solid core of the four girls from last time we had a season. We are not long on experience. We have those girls and we probably have nine girls that have been with the program. We have a bunch more girls out, but there's a lot of the young sixth, seventh graders."
The top-four returners — Masy Mock, Allison Meyerink, Quinn Dannenbring and Ella Flippin — all competed in the 2019 state tournament. Mock and Flippin are the lone seniors, while Dannenbring and Meyerink are both freshmen.
The roster also includes one junior, two sophomores, five eighth-graders and one seventh-grader.
"We have some good young players and we have some senior experience," Horan said. "The first couple of practices they have a good work ethic. They have been working hard at things."
Mock, who will play college golf next season at Augustana University, captured third at the 2019 Class AA state tournament.
"She's our leader and she's been one of the top players in the state for years now," Horan said. "She's a solid player and we expect nothing to change. We expect big things out of Masy."
Mock, along with Dannenbring, Meyerink and Madelyn Childs, were also regulars on the SDGA junior summer tour.
Horan said the tour is invaluable for their development.
"You have to play all summer long and play on that South Dakota junior tour," Horan said. "Spring season for girls is kind of short and the weather is bad at the start. So you have to take advantage of that good summer weather to improve."
The Kernels will have plenty of time to improve before their first meet, which is April 22 at both the Parkston Invitational at Lakeview Golf Course and a quad at Willow Run Golf Course in Sioux Falls.
"We can take the time to kind of their game going, get their fundamentals back and so on without having to kind of throw them in and compete right away," Horan said. "I think that's better for them in the long run."