State Gymnastics: Sluggish start, big finish for Willmar Cardinals
Willmar goes out with a flourish at state gymnastics meet
ST. PAUL — It wasn’t the best meet of the season, at least not based on the scores. But it certainly ended in the best place for the Willmar gymnastics team.
The Cardinals finished seventh Friday in the Class A state team competition at Roy Wilkins Auditorium.
Their score of 139.9 wasn’t their best, either. But it included a 37.175 on the floor exercise, Willmar’s last event. And that was the second-best of the competition behind Mankato West, which finished with a 37.850.
It helped overcome what all involved in the Cardinal contingent was a slow start.
Co-head coach Doug Rossum said he believed his squad had a sluggish warm-up and it carried over to the competition. Seniors Kirah Kessler-Gross and Presleigh Schrupp agreed.
“Getting used to everything and the environment, and getting yourself pumped up, it was a little hard,” Schrupp said.
Big Lake won the state title with a 146.825, the Hornets’ first team championship since 2000, when Big Lake won its second straight.
Coming into the meet, Willmar drew what it believed was a favorable rotation. They started with the vault, a strong event for them. Then came the uneven parallel bars, a challenge. Next was the balance beam and then the floor, which they admit is their best event.
“We had a fun day,” said Rossum, who with Jodi Mottinger has led Willmar to its third straight state team event. “We were a little sluggish in our warm-ups.
“But it was like I told them. You have to go out and have fun. Win, lose or draw, it’s fun to be here and we need to have fun with it. I think we competed a little better as the day wore on.”
After a 35.675 on the vault that was sixth best of the eight teams, the Cardinals had 32.875 on the bars. Next came a 34.175 on the beam.
On the floor, they flourished. All five Cardinals scored a 9.025, which was Jessica Miller’s score, or better. Schrupp had a 9.100. Tayva Carruthers had a 9.175. Abby Coquyt came next with an energetic 9.450. Kessler-Gross closed well, also scoring 9.450.
The team season is over. The group has been through injuries, notably Coquyt’s knee injury, and a health issue to family members. Heather Teisinger, Tavya’s mother and Abby Teisinger’s step-mom, had a serious heart problem three weeks ago that required CPR. But they persevered.
“It’s been a roller coaster and not even just this season, but our whole careers,” Kessler-Gross said.
The high school gymnastics roller coaster concludes Saturday with individual competition that gets underway at 11 a.m. at Roy Wilkins Auditorium.
Coaches and fans liked the venue. Roy Wilkins Auditorium is a larger, more comfortable arena than the Maturi Pavilion on the University of Minnesota campus. Fans, for the most part, are located above the floor, giving fans good views of all four events. There’s also more room for competitors and media. Schrupp and Kessler-Gross, Willmar’s two seniors, both like the Maturi Pavilion better, however.
“It’s the lighting,” Kessler-Gross said.
“It’s so much brighter,” Schrupp added.
It’s also where the University of Minnesota competes.
Roy Wilkins used to have the state gymnastics meet. But it was moved to Minneapolis more than a decade ago. The venue wasn’t available this year, necessitating the move back to St. Paul.
Willmar has four gymnasts competing in the Class A individual competition: Kessler-Gross in the all-around, Schrupp in the vault and bars, Carruthers on the beam and Coquyt on the bars and floor.
Also competing: Libby McGeary (vault, bars, beam, floor) and Mariah Ahrndt (bars, beam, floor) of Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg; Kamryn Quenemoen (vault, floor) and Lili Sampson (vault) of New London-Spicer
State Class A gymnastics
(1) Big Lake 146.825 (2) Perham 144.925 (3) Watertown-Mayer/Mound Westonka 144.375 (4) Mankato West 144.150 (5) Worthington 141.300 (6) Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa 141.075 (7) Willmar 139.900 (8) St. Paul Highland Park 131.325.
VAULT — Kirah Kessler-Gross 9.175, Presleigh Schrupp 9.175, Jessica Miller 8.700, Abby Teisinger 8.625, Tayva Carruthers 8.600
BARS — Abby Coquyt 8.625, Schrupp 8.400, Carruthers, 8.025, Kessler-Gross 7.825, Miller 7.675
BEAM — Kessler-Gross 8.725, Carruthers 8.600, Coquyt 8.550, Miller 8.300, Schrupp 8.200
FLOOR — Kessler-Gross 9.450, Coquyt 9.450, Carruthers 9.175, Schrupp 9.100, Miller 9.025