Gymnastics: In an awesome performance, Trojans score 140.125
WORTHINGTON — Elation was in the air for the Worthington Trojans gymnastics team Friday evening.
Not only did Worthington defeat Pipestone Area in dominating fashion and remain undefeated (9-0), but the team broke records, made memories — as well as momentum — that they can now tote with them the rest of their journey together.
“Overwhelmed” was the only word head coach Joni Reitmeier could use to describe her feelings after the 140.125 to 117.675 result was deemed final. It was the first time the sixth-year coach had seen one of her teams top that mark.
“I’m so excited. The girls are awesome,” Reitmeier mustered, still trying to gather her thoughts after the celebration. “Like I tell everybody, I’m just here for the ride. They’re the ones out there doing the hard work and staying dedicated 110 percent. I’m truly enjoying every minute of it.”
Worthington senior Paige Kinley, honored after the meet for the team’s Senior Night, won three of the four events for the evening to claim another strong score of 36.075 in all-around. She rolled up firsts on vault (9.175), bars (8.85) and floor exercise (9.45).
Staking claim to first on beam was freshman Liz Hayenga, with an 8.975. Seventh-grader Taylor Eggers was second there with an 8.650 while both Kinley and Maria Contreras were closely in tow, tied for third with 8.6.
Hayenga also had a silver effort on vault with a 9.05 and Contreras followed with an 8.875 that was good enough for third. Contreras also placed third on bars with an 8.025 and was second on floor exercise with a 9.175.
While the team steamrolled virtually all night, an exclamation point was laid when the team had all five varsity gymnasts leapfrog nine points on floor exercise, the team’s last event of the night. The team’s collective effort in that event broke a school record by .25 of a point.
All in all, Reitmeier said her team’s momentum for the evening was neither an accident nor a surprise.
“I think that happens in gymnastics. Especially if one girl goes out there and (nails it), the momentum just builds,” Reitmeier explained. “It’s like a snowball effect when each girl just does better and better. They build on that and that’s exactly what we did.”
Pipestone Area’s lone place winner for the night was senior Becca Griebel, who placed fourth with an 8.85 on vault.
The Arrows came into Worthington after pocketing three wins in a row — over Redwood Valley, West Central and Marshall. But a combination of a less-than-sharp effort by their own squad and a stellar performance by their hosts didn’t bode well for the visitors on this night, head coach Stacy Wallace said.
“We had three home meets with three home wins, which was a really nice streak to have,” she said. “We’ve been following Worthington and are happy for the success they’ve been having, but we knew tonight would be tough.
“Aside from that, though, it wasn’t a great night for us as a team,” Wallace added. “It was kind of a lack of focus, in my opinion, as a team. We have some work to do next week.”
Worthington will face two more meets before the postseason arrives. It starts Monday night, against another unbeaten foe from the Southwest Conference at Jackson County Central. The start time for junior varsity Monday in Jackson has been moved to 6:30 p.m.
The Trojans’ regular season finale and home closer will be a rescheduled meet with Redwood Valley on Feb. 10.
On Senior Night, Kinley was proud of her team and what they had accomplished. The team dedicated the night to her and signed, sealed and delivered memories for her she won’t soon forget.
“I’m so happy tonight. Joni told (the rest of the team) to do this for (Paige), and they did a wonderful job,” Kinley said. “I’ve always dreamt of a team of mine getting a 140. Now that we have, it’s crazy.”