PREP GYMNASTICS: Huskies clip TrojansWORTHINGTON — The Worthington gymnastics team faced its toughest test of the season on Tuesday, taking on Jackson County Central in a battle of undefeated teams. The victor would emerge as the hot favorite to win the conference championship.
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington gymnastics team faced its toughest test of the season on Tuesday, taking on Jackson County Central in a battle of undefeated teams. The victor would emerge as the hot favorite to win the conference championship.
WHS put together one of its best team scores of the season, but some age-old problems on the balance beam and a solid team effort from the Huskies led to a JCC victory on the day.
The Trojans compiled a team score of 132.575 compared to a 138.925 from the Huskies.
“Obviously we wanted to do better, but, you know, you’ve got to stay on the balance beam,” Reitmeier said. “I feel like a broken record because we say that a lot, but that’s the truth in gymnastics. It’s definitely one of those apparatuses that makes or breaks you. It wins meets, and Jackson obviously stayed on a lot better than us.”
JCC’s Brandi Sether-Hassing placed in all four events to win the varsity all-around title with a 35.325, beating out teammate Courtney Donnelli, who had an all-around score of 34.575.
Worthington’s Tara Svalland was third in the all-around with a 34.450. She finished first in the floor event with a 9.4 and second on the vault with a 9.225.
Sether-Hassing was second in the floor routine, tied for third on the vault, and won both the uneven parallel bars and the balance beam — the two events she particularly hopes to qualify in for the state championships.
“I hope to make it to state at least in one event — hopefully at least bars and beam,” Sether-Hassing said.
Donnelli was second on the beam with an 8.375 and tied for third in the vault — an event that was won by younger sister Sydnee Donnelli with a 9.4.
Also placing for the WHS were Anna Koepsell (third on the beam with an 8.025) and Paige Kinley (third on the floor with a 9.2).
The Huskies will travel to compete against Pipestone Area on Friday to try to secure an undefeated regular season and the conference championship.
“We’re looking forward going into Friday night,” JCC coach Tammy Handevidt said. “We’re excited. We’re just kind of focusing on what we’re doing right now and the skills that we need to work on.”
JCC will then prepare for the Feb. 19 sectional meet in Redwood Falls, where Sether-Hassing is hoping she and a number of her teammates can perform well enough to move on to the state championships.
“I think quite a few of us will make it to state hopefully,” Sether-Hassing said. “If we go out there and go hard I think some of us will make it.”
For Worthington, Tuesday marked the last home event on the team’s calendar.
The Trojans had a highly charged crowd to match the occasion.
“Of all the meets I’ve been in, this was the best meet I think in terms of the crowd,” WHS senior Ellen Dudley said. “I was really excited.”
Dudley was impressed by the large contingent of banner-wielding Trojan wrestlers cheering the team on in the front row.
“I think it’s nice the wrestlers come and know more about gymnastics than the typical high school guy,” Dudley said. “It’s nice that they come and cheer for us.”
For three Trojan seniors — Dudley, Genevieve Bern and Samantha Thuringer — it was the last home meet of their careers.
The large crowd gave the three a send-off after the meet was over.
“We’ve been in it together since eighth grade, so it’s hard to let go of it, but at the same time we’re looking forward to sections,” Bern said.
Dudley and Bern both finished their home careers by placing in the JV competition. Dudley was second on the beam with a 7.7, and Bern was tied for third on the floor with an 8.05.
“I thought I did really good,” Dudley said. “There’s always room for improvement, but I thought I had an overall good meet.”
Overall the Trojans scored a season-high JV team score of 115.2, though the Huskies were able to record a 125.8 to win the competition.
JCC’s Hannah Fraser took the JV all around title with a score of 30.15, followed by teammates Riley Schneekloth (30.1) and Makenna Donnelli (29.5).
The focus right now for the Trojans is on competing well in the sectional tournament, where they hope to put together their best performance of the season.
“I’d just like to see us hit above our high score, that would be awesome,” Bern said. “But if we can get individuals who go to state, that would be awesome as well.”
A big key to WHS success at the meet will, as always, be a strong performance on the balance beam.
Bern knows that the problems to be overcome are mainly psychological.
“The beam has always been our big psychological nemesis,” Bern said. “It’s the one that makes all of us think — and we shouldn’t think, we should just do. I think it’s the one you have to battle the most with yourself.”
Besides looking ahead to sections, they are also focusing on the perks of being active gymnasts for perhaps the last time.
“I was telling Gen the other day it’s probably the best shape we’ll be in for the rest of our lives,” Dudley said.
Reitmeier feels that her team is entering the sectional meet as a strong contender, based on the team’s 5-1 record and improved performance as the season has progressed.
She knows that it will just come down to her girls and how well they are able to execute on the day.
“I think the girls are very confident,” Reitmeier said. “Obviously they had a little bit higher expectations for today’s meet, but I think all in all we’re confident. We know we’re a good team — we only have one loss in the conference, so we are one of the top teams.
“We have a long time now to work on our routines, clean them up, stay on the balance beam, and go into sections knowing that we are a contender. We know what we need to do in order to compete well there.”