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State gymnastics: Fourth in state fits for NLS Wildcats

Prep girls gymnastics report for Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in west central Minnesota. Fourth-ranked New London-Spicer winds up with a fourth-place finish in Class A meet in St. Paul.

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New London-Spicer's Ciera Anderson competes on the uneven parallel bars in the Class A gymnastics meet on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 in St. Paul.
Matthew Curry / West Central Tribune
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ST. PAUL — New London-Spicer came into the state gymnastics meet ranked fourth in Class A. The Wildcats made it official on Friday at Roy Wilkins Auditorium by placing fourth with a score of 142.125.

Watertown-Mayer/Mound-Westonka is state champion with a 145.750. Mankato West placed second (145.600) and Big Lake was third (145.0)

NLS finished with a score of 35.975 in three of the four categories.

“I feel wonderful,” NLS head coach Cindy Jacobson said. “We just turned fourth-ranked in the state last week. One of the goals for us coming in was to be fourth, fifth or sixth, One right in the middle.

“We knew that there were some other teams that might have missed some meets or had some kids missing. I’m just very ecstatic.”

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

Aside from starting at 6 p.m. Jacobson says the only thing that may have been surprising was how little the Wildcats’ seemed to be nervous about performing at state.

“I think they were just really relaxed and they did a really good job,” she said. “They practiced hard this week and I think that they were more relaxed about this meet than they were the sections meet.”

Ciera Anderson helped lead the Wildcats, placing first in three of four events.

Anderson has a troubling injury history of dislocating her left knee, having done so six times in the past. She performed with a left knee brace and never showed signs of discomfort.

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New London-Spicer's Quinn Anderson competing in the floor exercise at the state Class A gymnastics meet on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 in St. Paul.
Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune

“It’s a little difficult but I’m kind of used to it by now,” she said. “I know how to do my routines with it. And it’s a little hard to keep it straight because it doesn’t really allow me to move as much. But I think that I can handle it pretty well.”

Anderson was happy with her team’s performance.

“I was really proud about today and how I did,” she said.

Prior to the opening walk, Jacobson told the Wildcats to enjoy the night.

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“We just told them, ‘We made it here, now it’s time to have fun,” she said.

After sitting out the first rotation, the Wildcats began the second on the floor exercise and got their first 35.975 score. It wasn’t enough to break into the top three.

“We’re not really used to starting on the floor,” Anderson said. “But I think that we did pretty good overall.”

NLS then competed in the vault and got its second 35.975 score. Abby Knudsen placed first for the Wildcats with 9.275. Anderson had one of the team’s lowest scores with 8.7.

Anderson rebounded on the uneven parallel bars. She ended up leading the Wildcats in the bars and the balance beam, earning 9.25 scores.

The Wildcats tallied a 35.975 on the balance beam and 34.200 on the bars.

“I think after vault I was a little discouraged because I felt like I was a little thrown off,” Anderson said. “But I stepped up and I got some scores so I was happy about that.”

Anderson represents NLS again on Saturday. She competes in the Class A individual state tournament starting at 6 p.m.

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“I feel like I kind of know the equipment now and I know what my strong suits are and what I need to work on and how I need to go into the event,” she said.

NLS has seven seniors, but Jacobson believes a return to state could be in the cards for next season’s Wildcats.

“They did a lot, whether they were competing or cheering for the other girls,” Jacobson said. “But next year we could make another run. We have Ciera, Kaisa Williams, Abby Knudsen and Kaitlyn Preheim all back and we have some underclassmen that have been stepping up.

“We also have sophomores and ninth- and eighth-graders that can step up and be ready to help. This year I thought we had so much depth. That’s what made this team unique. And with hard work I really think that we could do the same thing next year.”

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New London-Spicer's Maddie Brey competes on the vault at the state Class A gymnastics meet Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in St. Paul.
Matthew Curry/West Central Tribune

Class A state championship

TEAM SCORES — (1) Watertown-Mayer/Mound-Westonka 145.750 (2) Mankato West 145.600 (3) Big Lake 145.000 (4) New London-Spicer 142.125 (5) Worthington 141.950 (6) Detroit Lakes 140.575 (7) Mahtomedi 139.850 (8) Byron 137.725

NLS RESULTS

VAULT — Abby Knudsen 9.275; Quinn Nelson 9.05; Kamryn Quenemoen 8.95; Ciera Anderson 8.7; Taylor Knudsen 8.35.

BARS — Anderson 9.25; Quenemoen 8.475; A. Knudsen 8.325; Kaitlyn Preheim 8.15; Quinn Nelson 7.525.

BEAM — Anderson 9.25; A. Knudsen 9.2; Preheim 9.025; Taylor Knudsen 8.5; Quenemoen 8.275.

FLOOR — Anderson 9.175; Preheim 9.075; A. Knudsen 8.85; Kaisa Williams 8.875; Nelson 8.7.

More Gymnastics coverage:
Recent gymnastics coverage from west central Minnesota.
The development comes two weeks after the U.S. Justice Department said it will stand by its prior decision not to file criminal charges against former FBI agents accused of botching the investigation into Nassar in 2015.

Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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