The Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta gymnastics team returned to action in the new year hosting the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle on Tuesday, Jan. 8. It was the first West Central Conference meet of the season for the Tigers. Conference standings and individual conference points were at stake.
"We knew going into the meet that it could be very close. At the Tigers' invitational in early December, MACA finished ahead of LP-GE by .25," explained coach Trent Oberg. "I told the girls several times going into this meet that every tenth was going to count. We would need to fight for every detail - pointed toes, straight legs, good form, and connections.
"The coaches were in high hopes of having everyone healthy and ready for action. However, it was not in the cards for us," added Oberg. "Practice on Monday night was not in our favor. Seventh grader Julia Buendgen slipped off the bars in a freak accident and broke her arm. She is one tough kid. There was not a tear shed and she was calm the whole time we were assessing her, even cracking some jokes.
"Junior Paige Schieler has struggled with nagging injuries during her gymnastics career. She has been doing very nicely and we are working on getting her skill level higher. Last week we were working hard and I think it caught up to her. When she came into practice Monday, she was hurting. Her Hip Flexor was agitated and she will be out for a little while. She is very frustrated and rightfully so.
"During the meet we were a little rough around the edges," said Oberg. "Form breaks, pauses, and falls were evident. In some respects, it was like our first meet of the season - nerves and jitters.
"There were many bright spots in the meet as well," added Oberg. "We have been trying to add difficulty in our jumps and leaps by cleaning up the connections and twisting. Several of the gymnasts have been trying higher level tricks and were trying them out.
"We added some gymnasts to the line-up as they were ready for competition. Elizabeth Golombiecki has been working hard at vault this season trying to improve her form and hand placement from the previous season. It has not been easy for her and I appreciate all of the hard work she has done. She competed on vault for the first time this season and was successful as could be seen from her big smile when she was done.
"Seventh grader Shannon Kill experienced her first meet appearance on the vault and did a nice job. She does not say a lot, but works very hard. When asked how she felt about her performances, she responded with 'Good'.
"We also had two first-time beam routines performed by Anna Grove and Katie Giese.
"Kindra Cannon stuck her balance beam routine for the second time this season. Abby Travis has joined the 'Sticky Feet' Club with her first stuck beam routine of the season. There were several other Tiger gymnasts that were close, recording one fall in their respective routine. This is a good sign."
The Junior Varsity lost a very close meet, but set a new season-high team score.
Carly Maanum took first place on bars.
Katie Cannon tied for third place on vault and received third-place finishes on beam and floor.
Kendra Jergenson tied for third place on vault and received second place on bars.
Kindra Cannon took third place on bars and tied for fourth place on beam.
Grace Kruger tied for fourth place on beam.
Karli Siegel took fourth place on floor.
Anna Grove tied for fifth place on floor.
"We appreciate and are impressed with the hard work of the younger gymnasts," said Oberg. "They are pushing the older girls to work harder. Maanum, Jergenson, and Katie Cannon are in the mix for varsity action, as well as some of the other gymnasts. The line-up is changing on a daily basis and that is good."
Eight new personal-best scores were set, along with one season-high event score and a new season-high team score.
The Tigers recorded their first dual meet win of the season in the team's first conference meet.
Hailey Kotts took first place on vault and third place on bars.
Kourtney Giese took first place on floor and had second-place finishes on bars, beam and in all-around, along with a fourth-place finish on vault.
Savannah Aanerud took third place on floor and fifth place in all-around.
Abby Travis tied for fifth place on vault and received fifth place on beam.
Kendra Buro took fourth place on bars.
Kendra Jergenson took fourth place on beam.
"The Lady Tigers were able to accumulate several points for their respective finishes in the meet," said Oberg. "First place receives five points and fifth place receives one point. It will be exciting to see where they are in the Individual Conference Standings. These points will be added to the other conference meets this season with the highest point total gymnasts in the WCC earning all-conference status. It would be nice to have some of the girls receive those honors."