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Prep Gymnastics: Benson/KMS star strives to be the best

Libby McGeary focuses on being a good teammate while defending her staqte balance beam title.

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Benson/KMS junior Libby McGeary is balancing school, being a team leader, and a reining Class AA beam state champion this season. Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune

BENSON — Libby McGeary has always had confidence in herself and her gymnastic abilities. She believes she could be the best. She proved it at last season’s Class A state tournament, earning the state title on the balance beam with a score of 9.600.

The Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg junior is the program’s first state champion. The 16-year-old has the challenge of balancing school, being a team leader, and preparing to potentially defend her state title.

For McGeary, aside from school, being a leader for the Braves means putting the team first. Always.

State gymnastics: NLS takes fifth; Benson gymnast wins beam title

“I just try to help the young girls as much as I can,” McGeary said. “If they have questions, they can come to me and I’ll stop what I’m doing just to help them. I want to help them be the best gymnast they can be, work the best skills they can to make our team and themselves better.”

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She added: “As a team, the season has been going pretty well. We’ve added a lot of new skills and everybody has gotten really good. The team has gotten really close this year and we cheer each other on all the time.

“I feel this team will be really good this year. We have so many girls working on new skills and I believe that they can get them,” she added. “I feel that we will have a very good rest of the season.”

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Benson/KMS' Libby McGeary is currently tied for the best floor exercise score in team history with 9.700 and is hoping to be one of the top finishers this season at state on floor. Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune

Braves’ coach Kathy Ahrndt described McGeary as being a great role model and a person always pushing herself to learn new skills and constantly improve.

“After becoming a state champion, Libby is more than driven to keep challenging herself,” Ahrndt said.

McGeary described what it’s been like to compete in meets knowing she now carries the title of state champion, something she tries not to think about.

“There's a little pressure,” she said. “I just remind myself that I need to be calm and just take the pressure off, do the routines just like how I do them in practice and everything will go fine.”

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McGeary holds the Benson/KMS’ record for best all-around score with a 37.375. She has tied the Braves’ record for the floor exercise at 9.700 and the balance beam at 9.600.

While that’s an accomplishment for any athlete, McGeary is satisfied but still hungry for more.

“My goals for this season are to get those other school records and to hopefully break those school records that I already got,” she said.

In the Braves’ recent competition against New London-Spicer, McGeary placed first in the all-around (35.500), first on the floor (9.250) and first on the bars (8.950). She was second on the vault (9.200) and seventh on the beam (8.100).

“The season has had a little rough start,” she said. “But I hope the rest of the season goes pretty good.”

All the while, McGeary is already preparing for state and is confident she has what it takes to defend her beam title. She also would like to compete at state in other events.

“It really depends on how the day goes,” she said. “But I really hope to compete in floor and possibly vault if I get this new skill that I’m working on.”

Ahrndt says the Braves are in full support of McGeary and believes the junior has what it takes to potentially compete in the bars category at state. The state title will continue to motivate the star gymnast both this year and her senior year.

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“Bars is the hardest event to score in the 9s for most gymnasts,” she said. “Libby has been striving to upgrade her bar routine this season. So far she has added a new full twisting dismount. She has another new combination that she has been working on that she hopes to add in after the holiday break.”

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After winning the Class A state title on the beam as a sophomore, Libby McGeary is confident she can defend her title as a junior. Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune

Related Topics: GYMNASTICSLOCAL SPORTSBOYS BASKETBALL
Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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