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State gymnastics: Benson/KMS star is dethroned as state champ

Libby McGeary of Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg loses a chance to repeat as state Class A balance beam champion with a fall, finishing 27th. Gymnasts from New London-Spicer, Willmar and Litchfield also compete, with the Wildcats' Ciera Anderson earning a sixth-place finish on the vault.

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Benson Libby McGeary had a 9.375 on the floor exercise in the state Class A gymnastics meet Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022 in St. Paul
Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune
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ST. PAUL — Benson/KMS junior Libby McGeary came into Saturday’s Class A state gymnastics meet hoping to defend her balance beam championship.

But she was unable to reach the podium.

McGeary scored a 9.600 at the 2021 state meet. On Saturday, McGeary finished with a 8.725 which was not enough for the 16-year-old to make an appearance on the podium at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium.

Reagan Kelley, a junior from Watertown-Mayer/Mound Westonka, took home the state title for beam (9.725) and the all-around (38.475).

“It wasn’t the way I wanted it to go,” McGeary said. “But it worked out. It wasn’t horrible, it wasn't amazing. It was an average meet.”

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NLS Ciera Anderson poses after ending her floor exercise routine on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022 in St. Paul
Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune

However, Section 6A did have an athlete reach the podium in New London-Spicer sophomore Ciera Anderson. Anderson placed sixth on the vault (9.525).

“All of the vault scores were really close so I’m surprised I got to go up there,” she said. “I’m really happy with my vault and I’m happy that I got on.”

Willmar had three gymnasts compete: Lyndi Koosman, Kylie Portiin and Mallory Beier. Koosman finished 19th on the vault with a 9.350, 33rd on the uneven parallel bars with an 8.600 and 43rd on the floor with an 8.875. Porttiin was 21st on the vault (9.300) and Beier was 31st on the vault (9.100).

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Willmar's Lyndi Koosman finished with an 8.875 on the floor exercise on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022 in St. Paul
Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune

Litchfield senior Grace Borowicz finished 26th on the beam with an 8.750.

Anderson and McGeary both competed in the all-around.

Anderson just missed the podium for the all-around by placing seventh (37.225). She was eighth on the floor exercise and ninth on the bars (9.275).

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Willmar's Mallory Beier prepares to connect with the vault on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022 in St. Paul.
Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune

McGeary finished the all-around in 13th with 36.400. She placed 10th on the floor exercise (9.375), 25th on the vault (9.2500) and 12th on the bars (9.050).

“This is the best meet that I have ever had and it’s really good that it was at state too,” Anderson said. “I’m just so happy that I was able to come out here and compete in the all-around. This is something that I’ll never forget.”

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Following the team meet on Friday, Anderson believed she would have a strong outing on Saturday having now had experience on the equipment.

“I was really really tired having to compete in the all-around two days in a row,” she said. “But after yesterday I really felt like I have been really consistent.

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Benson/KMS' Libby McGeary competes on the balance beam on Feb. 19, 2022 in St. Paul
Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune

“I’ve been sticking my landings and I’ve kind of had really solid routines and I’m really happy and proud of myself.”

For McGeary, the rotation schedule may have not have been her first choice. Her and all the Section 6A athletes sat out the first rotation, the started the second on the beam. It forced McGeary to have a top-notch performance right away to contend for the state title.

McGeary seemed to have a good start, but ultimately fell off the beam.

The junior only fell once, and looked to finish her set strong, but it was not enough.

McGeary ultimately placed 27th on the beam (8.725) Anderson placed 16th (9.050).

“Usually starting with a bye is not horrible but starting on the beam is not the best rotation you could get,” she said. “It wasn’t horrible.”

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For Anderson, Saturday ends a solid weekend for her sophomore year.

“This weekend was really good for me,” she said. “I got a lot of experience and the routines just really got better.

“Now I know the things I need to work on and the things that I should improve on, what new skills I should get, just going to try a whole bunch of skills and see what I can do.”

McGeary says she is motivated now more than ever to prepare for a chance at redemption next year as a senior.

“I just want to work very, very hard this summer and upcoming fall to get back up on that podium,” she said.

Read more prep tournament coverage here from the West Central Tribune.

State Class A meet

New London-Spicer

ALL-AROUND — (7) Ciera Anderson 37.225 
VAULT — (1) Anderson 9.525 
BARS — (9) Anderson 9.275 … (34) Kamryn Quenemoen 8.600 … (41) Knudsen 8.350
BEAM — (16) Anderson 9.050 … (19) Kaitlyn Preheim 8.900 (35) Abby Knudsen 8.400
FLOOR — (8) Anderson 9.375 … (29) Preheim 9.075 … (45) Kaisa Williams 8.725

Willmar

VAULT — (19) Lyndi Koosman 9.350 … (21) Kylie Porttin 9.300 … (31) Mallory Beier 9.100
BARS — (33) Koosman 8.600
FLOOR — (43) Koosman 8.875 

Benson/KMS

ALL-AROUND — (13) Libby McGeary 36.400
VAULT — (25) McGeary 9.250 
BARS — (12) McGeary 9.050
BEAM — (27) McGeary 8.725
FLOOR — (10) McGeary 9.375

Litchfield

BEAM — (26) Grace Borowicz 8.750

More Gymnastics coverage:
Recent gymnastics coverage from west central Minnesota.
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Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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