Gymnasts counting on improvement looking to peak at section meet
Wendi Hartig is looking for the Park Rapids-Nevis gymnastics team to start this season the way the Panthers ended last season.
Having eight letterwinners and three other gymnasts back with varsity experience should give the Panthers a more competitive lineup.
Looking to lead the Panthers this season are the eight returning letterwinners: seniors Kayla Johnk and Taylor Drury; juniors Amy Klein, Lindsey Girtz, Nicole Eischens and Kylee Roy; sophomore Talya Smith; and freshman Olivia Fischer. Also back with varsity experience are freshmen Rachel Konshok and Jasmine Cease and eighth grader Alex Kirlin.
That group led the Panthers to a 1-8 record in dual meets and a season high of 98.10 points to finish seventh at the Section 8A meet. Park Rapids ended the season with a 94.67 average in 10 meets.
Klein returns as the Panthers’ top all-around performer after tallying a high of 25.90 with an average of 24.70. Johnk had a 22.44 average with a high of 23.00 and Girtz had a 21.65 average with a high of 22.75. Fischer (19.65) and Konshok (17.35) competed all-around in one varsity meet.
Park Rapids’ best event last season was vault with a 30.90 average and a high of 32.45. Leading the Panthers in that event last season were Drury (7.89 average with a high of 8.10), Klein (7.84 average with a high of 8.20), Johnk (7.68 average with a high of 8.40), Girtz (7.53 average with a high of 7.80), Eischens (7.52 average with a high of 7.80) and Fischer (7.30 average with a high of 7.75). Konshok had a 7.60 in her only varsity appearance.
In floor exercise, the Panthers had a 24.75 average with a high of 28.35. Klein led the Panthers in that event with a 6.92 average and a high of 8.05 and was followed by Johnk (6.36 average and a high of 7.15), Drury (6.18 average with a high of 6.95), Eischens (5.84 average with a high of 7.10) and Girtz (5.30 average with a high of 6.80). Cease (5.67 average with a high of 6.80), Smith (5.03 average with a high of 5.35), Konshok (4.18 average with a high of 4.80) and Fischer (4.70 in one varsity meet) also competed on varsity in that event.
On balance beam, the Panthers tallied a high of 24.40 with an average of 21.12. Eischens (5.85 average with a high of 7.15), Klein (5.84 average with a high of 6.55), Girtz (5.07 average with a high of 6.15), Johnk (4.56 average with a high of 5.35), Fischer (4.57 average with a high of 4.75) and Smith (4.00 average with a high of 4.45) led the Panthers on beam. Kirlin (3.40) and Konshok (3.00) competed on beam on varsity in one meet.
The Panthers had an 18.41 average on uneven parallel bars with a high of 21.50. Leading the Panthers on bars were Drury (6.31 average with a high of 7.00), Klein (4.22 average with a high of 5.20), Roy (4.20 average with a high of 5.05), Johnk (4.00 average with a high of 4.65), Girtz (3.25 average with a high of 3.45), Fischer (2.95 average with a high of 3.65) and Konshok (a2.75 in her only varsity appearance).
At last year’s section meet, Drury (31st), Klein (34th), Johnk (36th), Eischens (37th) and Girtz (39th) gave the Panthers a 31.85 in vault. The Panthers received a 25.10 in floor behind Klein (27th), Girtz (33rd), Eischens (35th), Johnk (39th) and Drury (40th). On beam, Eischens (29th), Klein (30th), Johnk (35th), Girtz (37th) and Smith (39th) teamed up for a 22.30. Drury (25th), Roy (29th), Johnk (34th) and Klein (37th) combined for an 18.85 on bars. Klein finished 20th and Johnk was 22nd in all-around.
Rounding out this year’s varsity and junior varsity roster will be junior Fenja Boesch; sophomore Madi Wagner; freshmen Emma Polzin, Kellsey Clark and Sarah Gorder; eighth graders Arianne Warmbold, Brittany Stewart, Madelin Klein and Vanessa Tranby; and seventh graders Jenna Berhow, Andrea Dudley, Kaitlin Vanlith, Katie Eischens and Samantha Frakke.
Defending champion Perham and Detroit Lakes should once again battle it out for top honors in Section 8A. Detroit Lakes and Frazee merged teams this season while Alexandria, Breckenridge, Fergus Falls, Little Falls and Long Prairie-Grey Eagle will round out the section.
The Panthers will be looking to improve their team score in all four events and once again peak at the end of the season.
“I’d like us to start where we left off,” said Park Rapids head coach Wendi Hartig. “We have a lot of young talent and the girls are willing to try and learn new skills. We’re going to push hard to be solid in every event.”