Gymnastics: New head coach looking to continue team's 'upward trend'
Katie Eischens inherits a talented group of gymnasts.
Katie Eischens is looking to continue the ‘upward trend’ as the new head coach of the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis gymnastics team.
Eischens, who was a member of the Panthers’ gymnastics team from 2013-2019, coached recreational gymnastics through Community Education during her high school career and served as the Panthers’ assistant coach for two seasons after graduating in 2019.
A year ago, the Panthers posted a 1-6 record in dual meets and ended the season by placing fifth with a 129.175 for their highest team score at the Section 8A meet since a 129.90 in 2001. During the season, the Panthers had a 34.15 in floor exercise for their best mark since a 34.55 during the 1997-98 season, a 32.75 on balance beam for their best mark since a 33.45 during the 2000-02 campaign, and a 30.10 on uneven parallel bars for their best score since a 31.50 during the 2008-09 season.
With a talented group returning, the Panthers have the potential to improve on those marks this season.
Returning from last year’s varsity squad are seniors Morgan Koppelman and Halle Landstrom; sophomores Emma Berghuis, Natalie Berghuis, Laney Vrieze and Erin Hansen; freshmen Grace Officer and Marrowa Schoeberl; and eighth grader Emily Lindow.
Of that group, five competed at last year’s section meet.
Landstrom capped off last season with scores of 8.825 in vault, 8.35 in floor and on beam, and 7.825 on bars for a 32.60 all-around score at the section meet. Koppelman had scores of 8.40 in floor and on beam, 8.25 in vault and 7.75 on bars for a 32.80 all-around score. Emma Berghuis received marks of 8.55 in vault and 8.275 in both floor and beam. Officer was a section competitor in three events, posting scores of 7.65 in both floor and beam and 6.30 on bars. Natalie Berghuis had an 8.50 in vault.
For the season, Landstrom was the Panthers’ top all-around performer with a 32.94 average and a high of 34.80. Landstrom posted averages of 8.78 in floor (with a high of 9.10), 8.71 in vault (with a high of 8.90), 7.99 on beam (with a high of 9.05) and 7.48 on bars (with a high of 8.10).
Koppelman finished second on the team in all-around with an average of 32.09 and a high of 33.15. Koppleman posted averages of 8.38 in vault (with a high of 8.65), 8.27 in floor (with a high of 8.60), 7.73 on beam (with a high of 8.90) and 7.45 on bars (with a high of 7.75).
Emma Berghuis competed in two meets in all-around with a 29.03 average and a high of 30.10. Berghuis had averages of 8.56 in vault (with a high of 8.90), 8.09 in floor (with a high of 8.45), 7.17 on beam (with a high of 8.275) and 5.73 on bars (with a high of 6.00).
Officer compiled averages of 7.95 in vault (with a high of 8.15), 7.65 in one meet on beam, 7.00 in floor (with a high of 7.65) and 6.49 on bars (with a high of 7.05).
Natalie Berghuis competed in two meets in vault with an 8.25 average while receiving a 6.60 on beam in her only varsity meet.
Hansen posted averages of 7.53 (with a high of 7.65) in floor and 6.25 (with a high of 6.30) on beam. Vrieze had averages of 6.23 (with a high of 6.35) on bars and a 5.75 in one meet on beam. Schoeberl had a 7.80 average (with a high of 7.90) in vault. Lindow had an 8.01 average (with a high of 8.30) in vault.
Looking to fill in for Ally Holmer (who capped off her high school career with a 6.95 on bars at the section meet while posting averages of 6.72 and a high of 7.35 on bars, 7.22 with a high of 7.75 in floor and 6.37 with a high of 6.80 on beam) will be senior Lexie Graff, sophomore Nora Bolton, eighth graders Embry Deshayes and Amelia Gravdahl, and seventh grader MaKenna Maanum.
“My long-term goals for PR gymnastics would be to build a team that is capable of consistently being competitive with the other teams in our section and to create a positive environment for future Panthers to grow and develop. We are down about half of our varsity athletes from last year, so our main team goal is to fill the gaps left by those athletes and maintain the upward trend that Panther gymnastics has shown in the past few years,” said Eischens, who will be assisted by Matt Backmann. “There are a few girls that have big individual goals for the season. Being a new coach I don't exactly know what to expect, but we have a great bunch of leaders among the team and I am excited to see what they can do.”