PREP GYMNASTICS: WHS leaps past CobrasWORTHINGTON — Tara Svalland has a few tricks up her sleeve yet this season. A sophomore on Worthington’s gymnastics team, Svalland isn’t ready to pull out her toughest vault just yet.
By: Aaron Hagen, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Tara Svalland has a few tricks up her sleeve yet this season.
A sophomore on Worthington’s gymnastics team, Svalland isn’t ready to pull out her toughest vault just yet.
And that’s bad news for her competition.
Svalland won every event on Thursday, leading the Trojans to a Southwest Conference victory against Windom Area.
Worthington scored 128.275, while the Cobras charted a 114.125.
“I wasn’t as nervous as usual,” Svalland said. “I just had more adrenaline. I was just pumped to go.
“It’s ‘Meet the Trojans,’ so I did it for the fans, myself and the team.”
On a special night for the Trojans, Svalland’s skills were especially sharp.
She scored a 9.45 on the vault. Cobra Meghan Vesey was second with an 8.65.
Trojan Sam Thuringer was third with an 8.6.
“Before every vault, (WHS head coach) Joni (Reitmeier) tells me to go 110 percent,” Svalland said. “So I think of that and I go above and show them what I got.”
Svalland was also first on the bars with an 8.15.
Worthington’s Paige Kinley, who returned from a dislocated elbow against Windom Area, was second with a 7.2 in her only event of the night.
“I was really nervous, more nervous than I was before,” said Kinley, who was cleared on Tuesday to slowly work back into competition. “Once I got out there, I felt good again.
“It felt really good to get back out there and do my best.”
Trojan Stephanie Jaycox was third with a 7.05.
Svalland was first on the beam with an 8.225, while teammates Anna Koepsell (8.2) and Genevieve Bern (7.375) were second and third, respectively.
“I tell the girls all the time, it takes a team,” Reitmeier said. “We have talent on our team and once we can bring all that talent together, obviously good things happen. It takes more than person to win a meet and today just shows you that.”
Svalland’s score of 9.075 on the floor was good enough for first place, while Koepsell was second with an 8.325 and Thuringer was third with an 8.1.
“I did OK,” Thuringer said. “I have a sore back, but it felt pretty good. I was a little upset with my last pass on floor.”
And while there were a few areas to improve, the Trojans were pleased with how they performed on the night.
“We were really happy with how we did,” Thuringer said. “We started off really positive, when we got here we were really excited to compete and it followed over to the meet.”
Svalland was first in the all-around competition with a combined score of 34.9, while Cobra Megan Muller was second with a 29.125. Windom Area’s Hannah Kloss was third with a 28.8.
“I think it’s probably one of my best vault and bars,” Svalland said. “On beam, I could have stuck my back tuck. Floor was good and that was my highest all-around score.”
While Svalland was having a solid night, her teammates followed suit.
“We’ve been cleaning up our floor routines and working on execution and amplitude,” Reitmeier said. “We’re cleaning up some bars and just trying to stay to stay on that balance beam, which is a huge challenge. All in all, we’re becoming the team that we are.”
Meanwhile, the Cobras suffered a setback before the meet even began.
Miki Bolin, a top all-around competitor, injured her ankles in warm-ups before the meet.
“Our goal was to hit a 118 and that was with Miki in there,” WA coach Cheryl Bass said. “Seriously, we probably would have scored higher than that, which was good. Beam, of course, we had a few problems on. But we had better floor routines then when we ended back on the 16th of December.”
Windom Area hadn’t competed in nearly a month, so it took the Cobras a while to get back in the swing of competition.
“Our biggest thing is that we haven’t had a meet in almost four weeks,” Bass said. “When we came in, especially JV, everyone was just sitting there, not knowing what to do. They kind of lost that competition feeling. The girls on varsity, they are used to this and they know what’s going on, but yet, it’s been four weeks.”
In the junior varsity competition, Jaycox scored an 8.2 to finish first on the vault, while Kara Honius was first on the bars with a 6.5.
Whitney Jensen was first on the beam with a 7.0, while Ellen Dudley won the floor with a 7.4.
Haley Gravonhof won the all around with a 27.1 as the Trojans defeated the Cobras.
Windom Area will travel to the Martin County West Invite this weekend, while the Trojans will travel to MCW Tuesday.
As for Svalland, she’s not sharing what she has in store for her next vault.
“I’m going to keep it a secret,” Svalland said.
But Reitmeier expects great things.
“I think on her height and amplitude on that vault was probably the best she’s done this year,” the coach said. “She’s working toward a more difficult vault. If she does that same amplitude and the same height, that next vault is going to blow your socks off, I promise you. There is more to come from her.”