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In a good spot: Worthington gymnasts win Big South championship

The Worthington Trojans gymnastics team, getting ready for next week's section tournament, captured the Big South championship Friday night in Worthington

Worthington Trojans Abigail Bristow strikes a pose before beginning her dismount from the beam during a Friday night's match with New Ulm.
The Worthington Trojans' Abby Bristow strikes a pose before beginning her dismount from the beam during Friday night's Big South Conference Championship with New Ulm. Tim Middagh / The Globe
Tim Middagh / The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- With the home stretch of the 2021-22 Minnesota high school gymnastics season under way, there’s still much to learn and much to attempt. Worthington Trojan senior Abby Bristow isn’t just perfecting what she’s learned thus far; she’s attempting new things.

On Friday, while the Trojans were on their way to a 144.1 to 136.425 victory over New Ulm in the Big South Championship in Worthington, Bristow participated in only her second varsity vaulting competition of the season.

She finished sixth with a 9.050 score. She placed higher in some other events, getting a second on the floor exercise (9.225) and fourth on the balance beam (8.875) while placing fourth in the all-around (35.150).

It was just her second all-around performance, too.

Last week while competing in the vault, Bristow landed on her neck on her second try.

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Her coach, Joni Reitmeier, smiled. “But she landed on her neck beautifully … She definitely did it the best way she could.”

Good gymnasts -- and certainly the experienced ones like Bristow -- know how to land correctly even when they miss. It’s that kind of expertise that makes the Trojans a favorite next Friday at Marshall High School to qualify for their eighth consecutive state tournament appearance.

Worthiington Trojans head Coach Joni Reitmeier follows Addison Gerber's dismount  during Friday night's match with New Ulm.
Worthiington Trojans head gymnastics coach Joni Reitmeier follows Addison Gerber's dismount from the balance beam Friday night.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

Worthington didn’t hit its season high on Friday, but Reitmeier and her tumblers appeared pleased nonetheless.

“I think we had a good meet. It’s kind of weird being in here without the JV competing,” said Bristow. “I think we’re definitely ready (for sections). We’re working really hard in practice every single day. Everybody is putting in the effort. We’re really excited about this season.”

And why is this season so special, given the team’s outstanding track record?

“I think we just keep getting better every year. Everybody steps up. It’s always different every year, but every year is great. … I think we’re in a good spot right now,” Bristow said.

Sophomore Hali Bullerman paced WHS on Friday, winning the vault with a 9.4 score and the floor exercise with a 9.375. She was second on the uneven parallel bars (8.925) and third on the balance beam (8.925) en route to a first-place all-around score of 36.625.

Teammate Mekyla Nystrom placed first on the bars (9.075), second on vault (9.375) and tied for fourth in the floor exercise (9.050) while finishing third (35.9) in the all-around.

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Trojan Olivia Barber was the balance beam champion with a 9.4. She tied for third on the floor exercise (9.2) and was fifth in the all-around (26.050). Worthington’s Kelsey Soleta was fourth on vault (9.2) and fourth on bars (8.175). Trojans Kenadie Thiner (fifth on vault, 9.075) and Addison Gerber (tied for fourth on floor, 9.05, and fifth on beam, 8.875) also performed admirably.

Kayla Goblirsch enjoyed a strong all-around effort for New Ulm, getting second on beam (9.25), third on vault (9.3), third on bars (8.725) and tying for third on floor (9.2) en route to a second-place 36.475 all-around total.

Outside of an occasional slip on the balance beam, the Trojans were solid.

“It was a pretty good meet tonight,” Reitmeier said. “It wasn’t our best. Obviously, we had a few falls on the balance beam. … We have a week to work on perfecting every little thing.”

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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