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Gymnastics: Trojans ‘stick it’ for win over JCC, Cobras top Marshall

DOUG WOLTER/DAILY GLOBE Worthington Trojans head gymnastics coach Joni Reitmeier (far right) talks strategy with her Trojans Monday night before the start of the vaulting competition in Jackson. Worthington went on to defeat Jackson County Central 138.400 to 136.450. 1 / 2
DOUG WOLTER/DAILY GLOBE Jackson County Central’s Brooklyn Schuett goes down to one knee on the balance beam during Monday’s gymnastics meet against Worthington. 2 / 2

JACKSON — Victory or defeat in Monday’s highly-anticipated varsity gymnastics competition between Worthington and Jackson County Central finally came down to the balance beam — Worthington’s final event of the meet. The Trojans struggled on the beam at various times during the 2013-14 season, but on Monday they “stuck” their beam routines when JCC didn’t.

The ramifications were enormous for Trojans fans. Worthington edged arch-rival Jackson County Central 138.400 to 136.450, advancing to 10-0 in dual meet competition and 5-0 in the Southwest Conference. All that remains is for the Trojans to defeat their final conference foe of the season, Redwood Valley, at home on Feb. 10 to win the conference championship outright. It had been nearly a decade since Worthington last beat the perennially-powerful Huskies in gymnastics.

Joni Reitmeier, once a performer on the WHS gym team and now in her sixth year of coaching the program, spoke through tears. “We’ve come so close so many times, but never quite got over that hump, and today we did it. It’s just so exciting to be able to say we’re conference champs and that we beat Jackson.”

A sullen but complimentary JCC head coach Dastinee Vancura said the beam was the difference. “We had a pretty decent meet,” she said. “It just came down to the beam, and that’s what it’s going to come down to in the section, too. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the best beam round.”

Worthington and JCC will lock horns again in the Section 3A tournament Feb. 15 in Marshall. The Huskies are the defending Section 3A champs.

Worthington outscored JCC in the vault, by a 35.725 to 35.050 score. Worthington also edged the Huskies on the uneven parallel bars, 32.850 to 32.400. But JCC outperformed the Trojans on the floor exercise 36.300 to 35.025. On the beam, WHS scored a 34.800 to JCC’s 32.700.

Worthington’s Paige Kinley, a senior who had never beaten Jackson County Central before, won the balance beam competition with a 9.15 score. She also finished first on the uneven parallel bars (8.85) and was first in the all-around with a 35.275.

“We had a few mishaps, but in the end we all pulled it together,” she said after the meet. “We didn’t do so hot on the floor, so we all knew if we stuck the beam we could finish in first place.”

Teammate Taylor Eggers, only a seventh grader, finished second on the beam (9.0) and second on vault (9.025) while tying for third place on bars (8.2) and placing second in the all-around, with 34.775.

“It feels really good, especially since it’s my first year, but I’ve always known Jackson is one of our hardest opponents,” said the diminutive Eggers. “I think this was probably one of my best meets this year.”

Worthington’s Maria Contreras won the vaulting competition with a score of 9.100. The Trojans’ Whitney Jensen was third on the floor exercise, with 9.100. Trojan Liz Hayenga tied for third in the vault with 8.825.

Jackson County Central’s Haley Bass finished second on the bars (8.400), third in the vault (8.825) and third on the beam (8.675) while scoring 34.75 for third place in the all-around. The Huskies’ Brooklyn Schuett won the floor exercise with 9.350 and tied for third on the bars with 8.200. JCC’s Brielle Scheepstra was second in floor exercise with 9.325.

Jackson County Central won the junior varsity competition 127.75 to 112.65. Rachel Spartz won the vault for Worthington, with an 8.600.

Windom/Mountain Lake at Marshall

MARSHALL — Windom/Mountain Lake rolled away in every event to defeat Marshall 135.575 to 116.8 in a Southwest Conference meet.

Cobras senior Miki Bolin had firsts on vault (9.225) and bars (8.225) with second place on floor exercise (8.925) and third on beam (8.7) to finish first in all-around with a 35.075. Hannah Kloss, also a senior, placed third on vault (8.7) and bars (8.0) and first on beam (9.1) and floor (8.95) to claim second in all around with a 34.75. W/ML senior Megan Theesfeld was third on all-around (33.025) with a second place scores on vault (8.775) and beam (8.7) and third on floor (8.55).

Amy Muller was second on bars (8.125).

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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