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Gymnastics: Tough task for Cards in 6A

Briana Sanchez / TribuneKirah Kessler-Gross, Willmar, performs on the floor Saturday, Jan. 28, at the True team state meet. Top 10 teams in class A competed.1 / 4
Briana Sanchez / TribuneOlivia Welsh, Willmar, performs on the floor Saturday, Jan. 28, at the True team state meet. Top 10 teams in class A competed.2 / 4
Briana Sanchez / TribuneErica Shramm, Willmar, performs on the floor Saturday, Jan. 28, at the True team state meet. Top 10 teams in class A competed.3 / 4
Briana Sanchez / TribuneAbigail Coquyt, Willmar, performs on the floor Saturday, Jan. 28, at the True team state meet. Top 10 teams in class A competed.4 / 4

WILLMAR—The Willmar gymnastics team may the third-ranked Class A squad in the state, but it has its work cut out in order to advance to the Minnesota State Gymnastics meet during Saturday's Section 6A championships at the Kennedy School.

The Cardinals are the second-highest ranked team within the section, with nine-time reigning section champion Melrose ahead with an average team score almost three points higher.

Ranked second, the Dutchmen average 148.992, while Willmar comes in just behind at 146.008. The Cardinals say that they concern themselves with how Melrose performs, because, as Cardinals head coach Jodi Mottinger likes to say, you can't play defense in gymnastics.

"(Melrose) posted a good score last weekend, so we're going to need to have a meet where we hit," Mottinger said. "Then we'll see what happens. We can only go out there and focus on our own performance. We aren't focused on Melrose at all."

Other area teams included performing include Litchfield, New London-Spicer, Benson/KMS/Montevideo and Paynesville/Eden Valley-Watkins.

Courtney Henjum of the 19th-ranked Wildcats is a strong candidate to qualify for State as an individual, having broken her own school record in the all-around this season. Willmar's Erica Schramm qualified for state last season in the bars.

"Erica went on bars last year and had a nice performance," Mottinger said. "It was a good experience for her, and she's hungry to get back there."

Coming off a Central Lakes Conference championship last week in which they beat St. Cloud Tech, the third-ranked team in Class 2A, the Cardinals are flying high—both figuratively and literally.

Curt Hogg

Curt Hogg is a sports reporter at the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. 

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