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Gymnastics: Area gymnasts wrap up season at state

MINNEAPOLIS — For the four area girls who competed Saturday at the Minnesota state high school gymnastics competition, where they placed among their peers didn’t necessarily reveal the full story. Paige Kinley and Liz Hayenga of Worthington and Bailey Schneekloth and Brooklyn Schuett of Jackson County Central weren’t able to finish higher than 25th in any one event but, as WHS head coach Joni Reitmeier said Sunday, that’s not what it’s all about.

What it’s all about — at least as the Trojans are concerned — is enjoying the experience and successfully showing off the talents brought to the show.

“We just wanted to go to state and know the girls did their best. I really think they did that,” Reitmeier said.

Kinley, a senior participating in her second state Class A tournament, scored an 8.2 on the uneven parallel bars for 30th place among the state competitors at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis. She placed 30th on the floor exercise as well, turning in an 8.725 score. And she scored an 8.8125 on the vault, good enough for 28th.

Hayenga, a freshman, placed 25th with an 8.5875 on the balance beam.

“Lizzie stuck her beam routine the first time at state, which is awesome,” Reitmeier said. “And Paige hit all of her routines her final year at state.”

Reitmeier said she sensed that Hayenga was a little nervous at first, but she eased into her routine very well and became quite relaxed. “That was really good, especially for her first year,” said her coach.

Kinley, said Reitmeier, was “solid all the way around” but was probably at her best on the floor routine. “She has a really fun and spunky personality, so that was a way to show that,” she said.

Schneekloth, a junior who won the balance beam competition at the sectional meet the previous weekend in Marshall, scored an 8.05 at the U of M Sports Pavilion, which placed her 30th. Her Jackson County Central teammate, eighth-grader Brooklyn Schuett, was 28th on the floor exercise with an 8.8875 mark.

Sela Fadness of Austin won the vaulting competition with a 9.775, the floor exercise with a 9.7125 and the beam event with a 9.675. Jailyn Brinkman of Melrose won the bars competition with a 9.65.

In the team event on Friday, Melrose prevailed with a 149.575. New Prague was second at 149.050, followed by Detroit Lakes with 148.450, Austin 148.3, North Branch 146.3, Big Lake 139.0, Breck 136.825 and Martin County Area 136.650. Martin County Area won Section 3A as Jackson County Central and Worthington placed second and third, respectively.

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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