Gymnastics: Panthers return veteran lineup
Gymnasts looking to improve skills, move up in section standings.
With seven of the eight Section 8A competitors returning, head coach Cyrus Gust has high expectations for the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis gymnastics team this season.
A veteran cast returns from last year’s team that went 3-7 in dual meets and capped off the season by placing sixth at the section meet with a 126.225. Perham won the section title with a 143.975.
Returning to lead the Panthers this season are the seven section competitors: senior Ally Holmer; juniors Morgan Koppelman and Halle Landstrom; and freshmen Emma Berghuis, Natalie Berghuis, Shailyn Hayes and Erica Johnson. Also returning with varsity experience are junior Natalie Backmann and freshman Laney Vrieze.
At last year’s section meet, Landstrom finished 10th and Koppelman was 15th in all-around. Holmer (uneven parallel bars), Emma Berghuis (vault, floor exercise and bars), Natalie Berghuis (vault), Hayes (floor and beam) and Johnson (bars, beam and floor) also helped the Panthers end last season with their highest team score.
Koppelman posted a 32.39 all-around average with a high of 33.40. Koppelman had averages of 8.53 in floor (with a high of 8.85), 8.47 in vault (with a high of 8.70), 8.05 on beam (with a high of 8.95) and 7.30 on bars (with a high of 7.675).
Landstrom had the team’s highest all-around average of 32.86 with a high of 33.45. Landstrom had an 8.69 average in floor (with a high of 9.025), an 8.52 average on beam (with a high of 8.65), an 8.37 average in vault (with a high of 8.5) and a 7.26 average on bars (with a high of 7.65).
Holmer posted a 6.68 average with a high of 7.05 on bars, a 6.01 average with a high of 7.00 on beam and a 6.98 average with a high of 7.00 in floor.
Emma Berghuis had an 8.57 average in vault (with a high of 8.95) and a 7.54 average in floor (with a high of 7.85). Berghuis added averages of 6.54 on beam (with a high of 7.00), 5.14 on bars (with a high of 5.40) and 27.55 (with a high of 28.05) in all-around.
Natalie Berghuis had averages of 8.18 and a high of 8.65 in vault, 7.18 with a high of 7.35 on beam, 7.45 in floor and 4.80 on bars.
Johnson posted a 6.19 average and a high of 7.25 on bars, a 7.39 average and a high of 7.80 in floor, a 7.93 average with a high of 8.05 in vault and a 6.95 average with a high of 7.00 on beam.
Backmann finished with averages of 5.39 and a high of 6.00 on bars, 7.88 with a high of 8.00 in vault, a 7.33 with a high of 7.45 in floor and a 6.60 with a high of 7.65 on beam.
Looking to fill in for Abby Kirlin (last year’s lone senior who competed at the section meet in vault and beam) on varsity and competing on junior varsity will be seniors Arlene Plaza Calderon and Valarie Tooker; juniors Alexis Graff and Emma Vrieze; sophomore Lauren Cunningham; freshmen Nora Bolton, Mylee Edevold, Rhianna Greenlee, Erin Hansen, Brandi Novak, Kamryn Sellin and Bella Vinge; eighth graders Grace Officer and Marrowa Schoeberl; and seventh graders Emily Lindow and Whitney Seifert.
“We have our largest team that we have had since I have been part of the program. It is awesome that girls want to be part of a program that is dynamic and growing. It also represents real challenges and obstacles, especially with our current training facility, but we have a team that wants to grow together, stay unified and ready to build each other up through the challenges,” said Gust, who will be assisted by Matt Backmann. “As a coach, I fully believe this team can really take it to the next level. We will need to train smart and stay healthy, but more importantly is nurturing a culture and environment that allows the girls to be confident in themselves and push each other.”