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Prep gymnastics: Celebrated WHS tumblers to labor one last season at armory

WORTHINGTON -- High school gymnastics practice in the downtown Worthington armory building went on Monday afternoon in the usual way. It was the first official practice of the 2018-19 season, but in some ways, it was different. In the offseason, ...

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At the first practice of the 2018-19 high school gymnastics season Monday, the Worthington Trojans loosen up at the local armory under the watchful eye of head coach Joni Reitmeier. (Doug Wolter/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- High school gymnastics practice in the downtown Worthington armory building went on Monday afternoon in the usual way.

It was the first official practice of the 2018-19 season, but in some ways, it was different. In the offseason, work proceeded on a new facility on the west side of town, but weather delays have pushed back the original January finish date.

“We’re looking at the end of March, early April, before we can get in,” said WHS head gym coach Joni Reitmeier on Monday. “Definitely not this season.”

The Trojans are taking it all in stride, focusing instead on having another outstanding year. For four years in a row, Reitmeier’s tumblers have qualified for the Minnesota state Class A team tournament, and judging by what they’ve got returning for 2018-19, there’s no reason to believe they can’t do it again.

They’ll have to do without one of their stars, Maria Contreras, but another star -- senior Taylor Eggers -- returns along with the usual talented cast. Junior McKenna Prunty, who appeared in practice Monday wearing a leg brace, is back after missing most of last year with an injury.

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And so it goes. The armory will be the Trojans’ home for one more season. It’s cramped. It’s dark. And there is barely enough space to seat the team’s many fans.

But waiting for the new building to be completed isn’t so bad, Reitmeier said, when you know that it’s on the way.

“We would have loved to be in our new building. But our big thing it that it’s going to be ready and finished. It’s sad that my two seniors (Eggers and Nixon Drahota) will not be able to compete in the new facility. They have that right.”

But, she added, “We know that we’re getting it. … All good things are worth waiting for.”

For Minnesota high schools, Monday marked the start of winter practices for gymnastics, girls basketball and boys hockey. Girls hockey practices began on Oct. 29. Next Monday, the practice season for boys basketball and wrestling gets under way.

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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