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Tribune photos by Rand Middleton Willmar’s Stephanie Thompson tied for third in the floor exercises on Saturday at the Section 6A tournament in Litchfield.

Prep gymnastics: Willmar sends three to state meet

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sports Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

LITCHFIELD — Willmar will send three girls to the Class A Gymnastics Individual State Meet at 11 a.m. Saturday at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion.

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Junior  Stephanie Thompson reached in all-around (35.575), floor exercises (9.4) and beam (9.2); sophomore Kendall Hein, tying with her teammates for third, advanced in all-around and vault, again a third-place tie with another teammate, Haley Mottinger, both at 9.275.

Not surprisingly, Melrose, among the state’s elite regardless of class, won the team championship with a sizzling score of 149.1, topping their winning score in Willmar of 147.5 in the section meet a year ago in Willmar.

Incomparable Jailyn Brinkman, the Dutchmen’s lone senior scorer, won all-around (37.975) a second straight year and this time in the Dragons’ gym every individual event with a teammate the runner-up in each category.

The Cardinals trailed in second with 139.85 points, nearly five points under their season-best. New London-Spicer took third and Benson/KMS fourth. Melrose and Willmar smothered the top four qualifying spots. NLS freshman Courtney Henjum placed fifth in the all-around, missing fourth by a decimal point.

The three qualifiers — the most this century —highlighted Willmar’s afternoon, though there were disappointments.

Mottinger had the routine to qualifying in floor after adding a last tumbling pass to hike her degree of difficulty. That went well but unfortunately a fall on her opening double-twist cost a half-point and possibly second place.

“Haley had a lot of adrenaline and went up higher than usual and could not quite control her landing and fell,” said Willmar co-head coach Jodie Mottinger, also Haley’s mother.  “We thought Steph, Haley and Alexis Miley all had a chance on floor. They all have such nice routines.”

Miley placed seventh, Henjum eighth and Mottinger ninth.

 Four falls hurt the Cardinals’ team score, which otherwise would have been closer to 142 or 143.

Section coaches voted Willmar co-head coach Doug Rossum the Section 6A Coach of the Year and the Cardinals’ Nick Clasemann 6A Assistant Coach of the Year.

The section championship was the 20th for Melrose, a three-time state champion, since 1990.

Section 6A team scoring

(1) Melrose 149.1 (2) Willmar 139.85 (3) New London-Spicer 136.375 (4) Benson/KMS 125.775 (5) Litchfield 125.45 (6) Dassel-Cokato 123.05 (7) Morris/Chokio-Alberta 119.85 (8) Paynesville/Eden Valley-Watkins 105.875 (9) Ortonville/Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley 102.125

Individual results

(state qualifiers bold … area leaders)

ALL-AROUND — (1) Jailyn Brinkman, Mel, 37.975 (2) Lydia Butkowski, Mel, 36.975 (3) Kendall Hein, Wil, 35.75 (4) Stephanie Thompson, Wil, 35.575 (5) Courtney Henjum, NLS, 35.425 (6) Mya Rohman, NLS, 33.525 … (8) MiKaylie Hagen, BKMS, 32.150 (9) Chantell Andersen-Otto, Lit, 8.475 (10) Savannah Aanerud, MCA, 31.575 (11) Heather Arnold, Pay, 31.150

VAULT — (1) Brinkman, Mel, 9.45 (2) Kayla Austing, Mel, 9.375 (3) tie, Hein, Wil, 9.275; Haley Mottinger, Wil, 9.275 ... (6) Henjum 9.1 (7) Thompson 9.075 (8) Morgan Hamstad, Wil, 9.0 (9) Rachael Terwisscha, NLS, 8.974 (12) Hillary Weiler, Wil, 8.9 (13) Hannah Kingman, NLS, 8.75

BARS — (1) Brinkman, Mel, 9.525 (2) Mady Brinkman, Mel, 9.375 (3) Butkowski, Mel, 9.225 (4) Abby Hinnenkamp, Mel, 9.025 (5) Hein, Wil, 8.65 … (7) Henjum, NLS, 8.375 (8) Rohman, NLS, 8.325 (9) Alexis Miley, Wil, 8.075 (10) Jane Hulterstrum, Lit, 7.975 0 (11) Hamstad, Wil, 7.925  (12) Thompson, Wil, 7.9 (13) tie, Arica Clancy, NLS, 7.85; Morgan Stoeberl, Wil, 7.85

BEAM — (1) Brinkman, Mel, 9.475 (2) Butkowski, Mel, 9.325 (3) Austing, Mel, 9.275 (4) Thompson, Wil, 9.2 (5) M. Brinkman, Mel, 9.125 (6) Hein, Wil, 8.925 (7) Henjum, NLS, 8.85 … (9) Rachel Vraa, NLS, 8.35 (10) Miley, Wil, 8.325 (11) tie, Rohman, NLS, 8.25; Kingman, NLS, 8.25

FLOOR — (1) Brinkman, Mel, 9.525 (2) Butkowski, Mel, 9.5 (3) tie, Thompson, Wil, 9.4; Austing, Mel, 9.4 (5) M. Brinkman, Mel, 9.35 (7) Miley, Wil, 9.225 (8) Henjum, NLS, 9.1 (9) Mottinger, Wil, 9.0 (10) Hein, Wil, 8.9 (11) Espi Austvold, NLS, 8.875 (12) Clancy, NLS, 8.725 (13) Jane Hulterstrum, Lit, 8.65 (14) tie, Rohman, NLS, 8.575; Weiler, Wil, 8.575

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