If state tournaments were rings, the Worthington Trojans would have one for every finger. If they should capture their sixth straight state tourney berth today, they’d have to start decorating another hand.
The Trojans are solid favorites to qualify for their sixth consecutive big tournament when Section 3A action begins at noon at the new Worthington gymnastics facility. All year long, WHS has been the best team in southwest Minnesota, scoring between 140 and 144 points consistently.
The Trojans are coming off an excellent Big South Championships performance, where they hit a 144.675 total against three other fine squads. Eighth-grader Hali Bullerman, back from missing a dual meet due to a hyperextended knee, won the uneven parallel bars competition. Teammates Gracia Elias, Mekyla Nystrom, Presley Eggers, Abby Bristow, Kara Thuringer showed off the team’s remarkable depth.
This week, the Trojans have been dutifully polishing their routines. It’s too late in the season to try anything legitimately new, but by burnishing the details -- their landings, their twists and turns, keeping those toes straight -- they hope to catch the eye of every discerning judge.
“We just always work on those fine details,” said head coach Joni Reitmeier following an early practice on Wednesday after school let out early due to forecasts of heavy winds.
The Trojans don’t talk too much about state tournament dreams during the regular season. They’re always well aware of what’s at stake.
“I think the girls have expectations. Obviously, they have it for themselves, and how they want to perform at the sectional meet,” Reitmeier explained. “We’re not focused on anything right now than going out there and doing our best.”
Reitmeier said other teams to watch out for today might be Martin County Area, which possesses one of the best all-around gymnasts in the section in Sabrina Segar, and Redwood Valley, which features a couple of young up-and-comers.
“Anybody can come to a section meet and rock it. It just depends on the day,” Reitmeier said.
If Saturday is Worthington’s day, Reitmeier said her girls would once again consider it an honor to represent the town at the biggest event of the year. “The girls take great pride in being Trojans,” she said.
It would also be a milestone for the seniors.
“It definitely would be something special. Our seniors on the team, that would mean they’ve been to a state tournament their entire careers,” said the veteran coach.
To accommodate more fans at the Worthington gym facility just south of the middle school west of town, televisions will be set up in the lobby where fans can sit at tables while munching on popcorn. Those able to squeeze into the main seating areas might not have the wiggle room they enjoyed during the regular season. But either way, Worthington is the place to be to see top-flight gymnastics.