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WHS Gymnastics: Worthington beats Redwood Valley

Jocelyn syrstad/daily globe Worthington's Anna Koepsell competes in the floor exercise in a dual meet versus Redwood Valley Tuesday in Worthington.1 / 2
jocelyn syrstad/daily globe WHS's Tara Svalland performs on the balance beam at a gymnastics dual versus Redwood Valley Tuesday in Worthington.2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- There were many firsts for the Worthington gymnastics team Tuesday.

Several girls nailed new tricks, other girls competed and placed in their first varsity meet and it was the first home meet of the 2011-12 season.

The Trojans defeated Redwood Valley 129.1-108.175 and took at least three of the top-4 spots in each apparatus at the dual.

"We performed really well tonight," WHS coach Joni Reitmeier said. "Everything in gymnastics is a challenge and we did really good on bars tonight, we had some nice vaults and we had excellent floor routines. We just have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what we need to do to make that balance beam better to make sure our scores keep going up.

"I mean, 129 is excellent. But we're a good team so we need to be scoring even better."

Tara Svalland won the all-around with a score of 33.725. Paige Kinley came in second (33.225) and Whitney Jensen came in fourth with a score of 29.475.

Jensen was competing in her first-ever all-around varsity meet and placed fourth on the beam (6.95) and fourth on the floor exercise (8.475).

"I thought it was pretty good for my first time on varsity," Jensen said. "I had a few wobbles here and there. I was most nervous for bars since that's the only thing I had never competed on at the varsity level. I didn't think I'd actually place, so I'm happy with that."

Kinley also had an excellent meet for the Trojans. The sophomore placed in every apparatus. She placed third on vault (8.65), third on bars (7.775), second on beam (7.45) and her score of 9.35 on the floor exercise was good enough for first place and was also a personal best for Kinley.

The sophomore added new tricks to nearly every routine. On the vault, Kinley landed a jump she hadn't competed with before. On bars, she added in several giants, which caused her to dislocate her shoulder last season and is a move she has never competed with before -- in fact, the move is so difficult that Kinley was the only gymnast in the meet who attempted it at all. And on her floor routine, Kinley added a bonus move to her middle tumbling pass.

"I thought I did really good mainly because I did a bunch of tricks I didn't do before," Kinley said. "I'm just really excited about my floor routine. That's the best score I've ever gotten. Once I finished I just felt really good about it. I had a lot of adrenaline and I actually did all of my tumbling passes right."

Anna Koepsell won the beam for the Trojans with a score of 7.575. Svalland won on the bars (8.425) and the vault (9.475).

Only one Cardinal placed in the top-four in any apparatus. Ashley Bunting took second on the vault (9.225), second on the bars (7.95), third on the beam (7.25) and took third in the all-around with a score of 32.675.

The one weak spot for the Trojans was the balance beam. Nearly every gymnast fell off the beam at one time or another and only two WHS girls' scored about a 7.0.

Reitmeier said the beam has been the team's Achilles' heel in the four years she's been coaching.

"We just can't get the sticks we need on the beam," Reitmeier said. "It's been really hard for us to overcome that. But I think because it's been such an Achilles' heel for us, the girls just get so caught up in doing well that sometimes we overcompensate and the reverse happens and instead of staying on the beam we fall off.

"I don't think it's a lack of ability thing. I think it's more of a mental thing that we somehow need to get over."

The JV squad also won, defeating the Cardinals 111.4-61.6.

Alyssa Williams won the JV all-around with a score of 26.4. Stephanie Jaycox came in second (21.7), Kara Honius cmae in third (20.6) and Liz Hayenga took fourth with a socre of 19.3.

Williams took third on the vault (7.6), fourth on the bars (4.8), tied for fourh on the beam (6.5) and tied for second on the floor exercise (7.5). Jaycox took first on the vault (8.0) and third on the floor exercise (7.3).

Honius tied for second on the vault (7.7) and fourth on the floor (7.2). And Hayenga finished first on the floor exercise with a score of 7.8.

WHS' next meet is Saturday when it competes in the Marshall Invitational.