‘Best state meet’ for Trojan gymnasts; WHS places eighth and makes big jump from 2017 effort
MINNEAPOLIS — The scores hadn’t even been counted yet, but members of the Worthington Trojans high school gymnastics team were quite pleased with themselves and their performances at the Minnesota state Class A team tournament Friday afternoon.
“Best state meet we’ve ever competed in. Overall, I’m super proud. Total team effort,” said head coach Joni Reitmeier. “Way more relaxed than we’ve ever been. And we talked about that, because we had nothing to lose.”
“I feel like we just did our best,” said sophomore Kara Thuringer. “We didn’t have any pressure on us, so we did just what we came to do.”
Worthington’s total score placed them eighth in the competition at Maturi Pavilion on the campus of the University of Minnesota. But their 141.075 score was solid, and significantly better than the 138.7 they garnered last year at the same event. Friday marked the Trojans’ fourth consecutive team state tournament berth, and the Section 3A champs made the best of it.
Detroit Lakes, as expected, captured first place. The Section 8 titleists accumulated 150.925 points. Watertown-Mayer/Mound-Westonka and Mahtomedi both had 147.425 points, with WMMW winning second place by virtue of a tiebreaker. Sartell-St. Stephen was fourth with 146.450 points, followed by Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa with 144.875, Willmar 144, Waconia 142.425 and Worthington.
The Trojans started the competition on the floor exercise, which went well. As a team, they scored 36.650 points on the event, which tied them for sixth-best among the eight competing squads.
“I think we did really well on the floor. Floor is always a strong event for us. And I think we did well on the vault, too. Bars, it’s not the best event for us. But Gracia really had a good routine,” said Reitmeier.
She was speaking about ninth-grader Gracia Elias, who turned in Worthington’s best uneven parallel bars performance of the day, with an 8.675.
“I was nervous at the beginning, but once I got into it, I knew I could do it,” Elias said. “The most difficult thing for me was keeping my legs up on the low bar. I’ve been working on that in practice, and it paid off.”
Besides her bars score, Elias scored 8.575 on floor exercise, 9.125 on vault and 9.350 on balance team.
Taylor Eggers, a junior, paced the Trojans on floor exercise, with a 9.225. She had a 9.2 on vault, a 7.925 on bars and an 8.425 on beam.
Trojan Maria Contreras completed her senior team year in solid fashion, with an 8.7 on floor, a 9.2 on vault, an 8.4 on bars and an 8.975 on beam.
Thuringer turned in an 8.625 on floor, an 8.9 on vault and a 7.95 on bars. Sophomore Adamari Rangel had a 7.625 on beam.
Eighth-grader Abby Bristow scored an 8.825 on floor and a 9.025 on beam. And the Trojans’ other eighth-grade varsity performer, Mekyla Nystrom, had a 9.125 on vault and an 8.250 on bars.
Thuringer said starting with the floor exercise was helpful to the team.
“The floor’s like, our best event. We started out strong, and then it just carried over from there,” she said.
Elias said the team was determined to do better than last year.
“Last year we came and said, ‘Oh, well.’ We really didn’t have confidence in ourselves. And this year, we had confidence and cheered really loud for each other,” she said.”
Coach Reitmeier was pleased that the veterans did well, and so did the younger gymnasts. She always preaches togetherness with her athletes, and it was togetherness that helped bring the Trojans along on Friday.
“Obviously we have some veterans, which is always helpful,” she said. “But we’ve got a lot of young girls, too. So the veterans help the young girls.”
Today, Trojans Contreras, Eggers and Bristow will represent WHS in the individual portion of the tournament, beginning at 11 a.m. at Maturi Pavilion. Also performing will be Brooklyn Schuett, Abby Schneekloth and Hailey Handevidt of Jackson County Central.