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Park Rapids gymnastics team looking for another consistent season

Wendy Hartig is looking for the Park Rapids gymnastics team to pick up where it left off last season.

With eight varsity gymnasts returning, Hartig is optimistic the Panthers can duplicate last year's consistent performance of scoring more than 120 points in 10 of 12 meets.

The Panthers, who ended the season with a 2-6 record in dual meets, finished third at the Mid-State Conference meet with 121.875 points and took fourth at the Section 8A meet with 124.90 points. Park Rapids' best team score during the season was a 125.35.

Micah Richards capped off the season by qualifying for the state Class A meet on balance beam. Richards placed 25th in her state debut. Richards and Megan Lawrence, who missed the last part of the season with an injury, were the lone seniors on last year's varsity team.

Looking to lead the Panthers to another successful season are the eight returning varsity gymnasts: seniors Kyja Penning and Kirsten Erickson; junior Samantha Bera; sophomore Emily Klingenberg; freshmen Jessica Andersen and Katherine Erickson; and eighth graders Cassie Baxter and Ellen Hoffman.

Penning returns as the Panthers' top all-around performer after finishing last season with a 32.60 all-around average. Penning led the Panthers in floor exercise with an 8.35 average and on uneven parallel bars with an 8.03 average and was second in vault with an 8.60 average. Penning also had a 7.63 average on balance beam. Penning's top scores last season were 8.85 in vault, 8.725 in floor, 8.60 on bars, 8.40 on beam and 33.65 in all-around. At the section meet, Penning finished 10th in all-around, 11th on bars, 12th in floor, 13th in vault and 16th on beam.

Klingenberg was another all-around performer last season, finishing with a 27.94 average with a high of 29.05. Klingenberg's high marks in each event were 8.10 in vault, 7.90 on beam, 7.25 in floor and 7.20 on bars with averages of 7.79 in vault, 6.93 on beam, 6.49 on bars and 6.47 in floor. At the section meet, Klingenberg placed 12th in all-around, 19th on bars, 21st in vault, 23rd in floor and 28th on beam.

Andersen also competed as an all-around performer in four meets, finishing the season with a 24.11 average and a high of 25.45. Andersen had averages of 7.85 in vault, 6.76 on beam, 5.88 in floor and 4.48 on bars with highs of 8.15 in vault, 7.75 on beam, 6.65 in floor and 5.65 on bars. At the section meet, Andersen placed 17th on beam and 23rd in both vault and bars.

Kirsten Erickson had a 6.78 average in floor with a high of 7.35. Erickson placed 17th in that event at the section meet.

Katherine Erickson competed on balance beam and had a 5.97 average, highlighted by a 7.15 for 19th place at the section meet.

Baxter had a 6.06 average on bars with a high of 7.05 to finish 18th at the section meet.

Bera compiled a 6.50 average in floor with a high of 7.65 and a 7.33 average in vault with a high of 8.00. Bera competed at the section meet in floor, finishing 24th.

Hoffman rounded out Park Rapids' section team by placing 18th in vault. Hoffman had a 7.96 average in that event with a high of 8.15.

Looking to fill in at the varsity level and competing on junior varsity will be junior Ashley Cain; sophomores Darrian Anderson, Katie Darchuk, Abbie Grossman, Tori Lauderbaugh, Jessie Petrie and Isis Tovar; freshmen Tiffeny Hansen and Heidi Schaum; eighth graders Samantha Harshman, Serena Hoeke, Josie Niehart and Josie Sherer; and seventh graders Kendra Anderson, Nicole Eischens, Lindsey Girtz, Serena Kinkel, Amy Klein, Lauren Rossman, Kylee Roy, Teresa Starmer and Kate Wetphel.

Hartig will be assisted by Aarin Galzki and Brianne Morris.