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Gymnastics: Trojans hit 140 against New Ulm

Worthington Trojan McKenna Prunty is congratulated by head coach Joni Reitmeier as she leaves the mat after her floor exercise Thursday night against New Ulm. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)1 / 2
Trojan Gracia Elias strikes a pose during her balance beam routine against New Ulm. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- McKenna Prunty has gone through a lot over the past two gymnastics seasons, so for Worthington Trojans fans it was nice to see her smiling face and leaping torso Thursday night at the local armory.

In her freshman season, the talented gymnast broke a foot, and last year as a sophomore she missed most of the season with injuries to her ACL, her MCL, and, in her words, “a lot of other things.” But on Thursday while the local varsity squad worked toward its 140.1 to 133.125 victory over New Ulm in its first home meet of the 2018-19 campaign, Prunty was right there -- placing second on the uneven parallel bars (8.025), second on balance beam (9.125), tying for second on floor exercise (9.175), and getting third with a 35.0 in the all-around.

How does she feel to be back in the action?

“Absolutely amazing. It’s the best feeling in the world,” she said with a wide grin. It felt “horrible” not to be able to compete, she added, but when she was finally 100 percent cleared to practice in mid-September she practically did cartwheels.

The full leg brace that she’ll wear on her left limb will be worn for the entire season. She said she’s starting to get used to it, but it gives her a rash, and parts of it cut into her skin. On the other hand, wearing it gives her confidence to know she has the support she needs.

On Thursday, the plucky junior received full-throated cheers from her teammates as she dismounted from a fine balance beam routine. On the floor exercise -- Worthington’s last event of the night -- she seemed to have picked up right where she left off last year.

“I wasn’t expecting to be this far (along). I’m really happy with how far it’s come at this point,” she testified.

Worthington scored 137.9 points in its first meet of the season Tuesday in Hendricks. The 140.1 score was a definite improvement. Even better, perhaps, was the fact that the Trojans only had one fall on the balance beam, compared to the nine falls they had on Tuesday.

“Obviously we improved by almost three points. So that’s a positive thing,” said head coach Joni Reitmeier. “I think, overall, (we did) amazing. These girls work really, really hard and it shows.”

Not that WHS was mistake-free. Two Trojans were unable to complete their swings on the high bar of the uneven parallel bars, and a few of the landings on vault were missed. Reitmeier reiterated that good landings are important in high school gymnastics.

“Stuck landings, especially, when you don’t move your feet, and you don’t take a couple of little steps, that’s important in everything,” Reitmeier said.

Meanwhile, Worthington sophomore Gracia Elias -- an Adrian product -- was especially impressive Thursday night, winning the beam competition (9.275), tying for second on floor (9.175), tying for third on bars (8.0) and winning the all-around with a 35.450. Veteran Taylor Eggers won the floor exercise (9.425) and was third on vault (9.175).

Teammate Hali Bullerman, a seventh-grader from Adrian, impressed the crowd with a well-executed high-energy fourth-place performance on the floor exercise (8.675) while also placing second on vault (26.5). Trojan Kara Thuringer was fourth on the beam, with an 8.8, and tied for third on the bars (8.0).

New Ulm’s Kayla Goblirsch had herself a meet, winning both the vault (9.275) and bars (8.45) and getting a third (9.050) on the beam. She was second with a 35.35 in the all-around.

Worthington captured the junior varsity competition 132.05 to 121.5. Autumn Drahota scored a first-place 33.3 in the all-around.

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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