In 2015, WHS edged JCC for state gym berth

Worthington’s McKenna Prunty leaps from the beam at the 2015 Section 3A high school gymnastics tournament. The Trojans qualified for state for the first time since 2004. (file photo)

EDITOR’S NOTE: In February of 2015, the Worthington Trojans high school girls gymnastics team went to the wire with Jackson County Central for a state Class A tournament berth. While spring sports remain on hold, The Globe is reprinting selected articles from great sports moments of the past. Today’s story (condensed) appeared in the Feb. 16, 2015, issue of the Daily Globe.

PIPESTONE -- With one last rotation to go, everybody knew that very little separated the Worthington Trojans and the Jackson County Central Huskies from the only state team gymnastics berth available Saturday afternoon at Section 3A.

The Huskies were on the floor exercise -- a strong event for them -- as the Trojans performed on the balance beam -- a strong event for them, but one fraught with danger. Arguably the most difficult event in gymnastics, the beam is narrow and difficult to master. “The Achilles heel of gymnastics,” said WHS head coach Joni Reitmeier.

It fell upon Trojan seventh-grader Kara Thuringer to get the Trojans started off right, and she did, staying on without a single fall. Next up was seventh-grader McKenna Prunty, who also stayed on throughout to pull down an exceptional 9.1 score. Going third: eighth-grader Taylor Eggers, who avoided a fall like her teammates en route to scoring a 9.05.

A winning tone was set. The final WHS beamer, Maria Contreras, fell twice, but otherwise did well. And after all the routines were digested, the Trojans were rewarded with a collective 34.475 score -- the second-best team score in the tournament. JCC’s 35.875 score on the floor was the Huskies’ best total in any one event. But all it got them was a close second.


Worthington finished with 140.125 team points Saturday, earning its first state Class A team tournament berth since 2004. JCC had 139.025 points.

Reitmeier knew all along that it would come down to the beam.

“No surprise,” she said after the post-meet celebration began to die down. “Our first three girls stuck it, obviously clinched it, helping us win this. I have to give kudos to Kara. That first girl, you have to really rely on her to set the tone for you.”

Besides qualifying for state as a team, the Trojans qualified several of their athletes for the individual portion of the meet, which is set for Friday and Saturday at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis.

Prunty and Eggers placed 1-2 on the balance beam. Eggers won the vault with a 9.375 score and Contreras was second on vault with a 9.3. Eggers added a fourth-place finish on the uneven parallel bars (8.525) and Contreras was fourth on the floor (9.05). Eggers also won the all-around competition with a 35.9 score, and Prunty was fourth with 35.225.

The top four competitors in every event qualify for state. …

Trojans who were asked to describe their emotions after Saturday’s meet seemed to favor the word, “amazing.” Eggers was one of those.

“Best feeling in the world,” she explained. “I was a little scared on the balance beam, ‘cuz I had a little trouble in time warmups. But it turned out to be alright.” …


The pixie-like Prunty said when it was her turn to take to the beam, her goals were simple. “To have fun and try my hardest to stay on,” she said.

Reitmeier, who has coached the WHS gymnastics program for seven years, will coach a team in the state tournament for her first time this week. She has been close several times before.

“To come out and finally be able to win, it’s just so exciting. I’m just so proud of the girls. They fought to the very end,” she said.

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