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Gymnastics: Contreras leads Trojans to solid win in season opener

WORTHINGTON -- Maria Contreras says she's working on her smile, doing her best to show that she really does like performing. Sometimes, it has been hard to tell for sure. So determined, so focused, sometimes she has forgotten to let her joy show ...

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Worthington Trojans head gymnastics coach Joni Reitmeier encourages Maria Contreras after her dismount from the beam Friday night at the Worthington armory. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Maria Contreras says she’s working on her smile, doing her best to show that she really does like performing.

Sometimes, it has been hard to tell for sure. So determined, so focused, sometimes she has forgotten to let her joy show while leaping, twisting, twirling and dancing to the crowd.

Friday night, however, the spritely senior smiled often while winning three events plus the all-around at the Worthington Trojans’ first gymnastics meet of the 2017-18 campaign. It was a strong performance, even the seldom-satisfied Contreras admitted.

“For my first meet, I think I did pretty well,” she said with a pretty grin. She was especially happy with her routine on the uneven parallel bars -- where she scored an 8.65 -- and her vault, where she scored a 9.25.

“I was struggling during practice on vault, then when I came here, I stuck ‘em, which is good for me,” she said.

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Contreras’ first-place finishes on the bars, vault and beam events (she had an 8.475 on beam) helped the defending Section 3A champions to a team score of 136.675, which easily bettered Hendricks/Russell-Tyler-Ruthton’s 126.8 at the local armory.

Worthington competed Friday without one of its best gymnasts, sophomore McKenna Prunty, who it was learned this week will be out for the season due to injury. Fortunately, the Trojans are still a deep and talented team, and it showed in their season opener.

“I’m very happy,” said head coach Joni Reitmeier. “First meets are always one of those times where you hope to hit some routines and hope you can come back from it and do better.”

Taylor Eggers won the floor exercise for WHS, with a very good 9.175 score. She placed second on the vault (9.2), second on balance beam (8.3) and was second in the all-around with a 34.65. Eggers, never one to shy away from high-risk routines, didn’t hit them all on Friday. But Reitmeier said that her fearless junior will continue working hard to perfect her routines, which will undoubtedly lead to more impressive scores.

Trojan Gracia Elias was second on bars (8.35), third on beam (8.125) and fourth in the all-around (32.225). Teammate Kara Thuringer was second on the floor exercise, with an 8.8.

Hendricks/R-T-R’s Greta Johnson placed third with an 8.15 on bars, and teammate Sophie Johnson was third on vault with an 8.8.

Contreras placed third on the floor exercise with an 8.7. It would have been higher, but she rotated too far on one of her tumbling runs and landed on her rump.

“I guess my adrenaline kicked in, and I set higher than I usually do,” she said.

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“It was a beautiful double twist. Probably one of the best she’s ever done,” said Reitmeier. “When she landed, she just kind of brought her feet up instead of letting them fall to the floor, and she fell on her tush.”

In junior varsity competition, Worthington won 129.85 to Hendricks/R-T-R’s 97.35. Trojans Presley Eggers on vault (8.6) and floor (8.3), Claire Ludes on beam (8.25) and all-around (32.6) and Autumn Drahota on bars (8.0) achieved firsts.

Now, after the first meet is done, Reitmeier said she and her gymnasts will concentrate on “cleaning things up,” which means connecting better on jumps, keeping legs straight and toes pointed, and sticking the landings.

 

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Trojan gymnast Taylor Eggers flips in midair during her floor routine Friday. (Tim Middagh/The Globe

Related Topics: GYMNASTICS
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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