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WHS gymnasts clinch Big South, look forward to section

Confidence is high for the Worthington Trojans varsity gymnastics team, and it didn’t hurt Friday night when the girls scored 144.025 points in Worthington to capture the Big South Conference championship outright.

031321 N DG Trojans Gymnastics vs New Ulm S1.jpg
Worthington Trojans Abby Bristow strikes a pose before she makes a rotation on the beam during Friday night competition with New Ulm Eagles. (Tim Middagh/The Globe) 031321 N DG Trojans Gymnastics

WORTHINGTON -- Confidence is high for the Worthington Trojans varsity gymnastics team, and it didn’t hurt Friday night when the girls scored 144.025 points in Worthington to capture the Big South Conference championship outright.

Next Saturday, March 20, the team will compete in Section 3A competition at Jackson, and with a win there, WHS will qualify for the state team tournament for a seventh consecutive year. Nothing’s certain, of course, but the Trojans like where they’re at.

“I think we’re right where we need to be. And with more practices this week, I think we’ll be ready to go up for sections,” said junior Mekyla Nystrom, who placed second on the uneven parallel bars (8.825) and tied for second on the vault (9.4) against New Ulm on Friday.

“I think we’re ready,” confirmed head coach Joni Reitmeier. “I think there’s always things we can be doing to be more prepared. With gymnastics, it’s about fixing all those little things. All those little tenths of a point can make a difference at a section meet.

“There’s always another thing you can do to grow in gymnastics. If you get something right, there’s always another thing you can learn,” Reitmeier said.

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Friday’s Big South Crossover meet pitted the top teams in the two conference divisions. Worthington’s score was in line with some of the best scores it has reached this winter. New Ulm posted a 138.725 to get league runner-up honors.

Though New Ulm didn’t win the meet, the Eagles had the top all-around gymnast in junior Kayla Goblirsch, who totaled 36.575 points. She finished first in the vault with a 9.5 score and tied for first in the balance beam competition with a 9.25. She was second on floor exercise with 9.150.

The Trojans had three individual champions. Gracia Elias tied with Goblirsch for first on the balance beam (9.25), Hali Bullerman achieved a first on the uneven parallel bars with an 8.9, and Abby Bristow scored an outstanding 9.275 on the floor.

Bristow placed second on the beam with 9.125. Bullerman tied for second on vault (9.4), placed third on the beam (9.050) and was third on floor (9.075). She was second in the all-around with 36.425.

Elias got third on the vault (9.35), fourth on bars (8.4) and third in the all-around (35.625). Nystrom was fourth in the all-around (35.175).

Several other Trojans posted solid scores. Ivy Jenson was fourth in vault (9.050), Olivia Barber was fifth on bars (8.1) and Addison Gerber was fourth on beam (8.9).

No doubt, adding to the Trojans’ confidence this time of year is the fact that midway through the regular season they achieved a No. 1 state Class A ranking. Since then they’ve dropped to No. 4, but even today there’s not much separation from four from one in average scores.

“I think it’s really cool,” said Nystrom about the top ranking. “It’s like, ‘OK, we’re good. We’ve shown it, and we don’t have to be scared when we compete. It’s just a confidence-booster.”

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Reitmeier agreed. “I think it just makes the girls believe they’re good enough to be where they are,” she said.

In Friday’s crossover meet, the Worthington junior varsity team also prevailed, scoring 134.3 points to New Ulm’s 129.050. Placing first for WHS were Bristow (vault), Cristy Banegas (bars), Kaitlyn Jueneman (floor) and Jordis Weber (tied with New Ulm’s Kiah Helget on beam). Banegas won the all-around.

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