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Gymnasts score season-high at home

The Morris Area gymnastics team opened 2009 at home in West Central Conference action against New London-Spicer on Jan. 6. After a much needed break, the Lady Tigers were eager to see what they could accomplish.

"A few of the gymnasts came in during the break for some open gym practice. It was a little more relaxed pace and we could focus on specifics while trying to learn new tricks," said coach Trent Oberg. "Over the next several meets we will be trying to incorporate the new ideas into the routines.

"With this sport, polishing up the routines seems never ending - but that is part of the excitement as well. Every little detail is part of your score, so it may be a matter of being sure that a gymnast keeps their toes pointed or puts a smile on their face," said Oberg. "The tenths add up quickly."

In junior varsity action, the fell to the Wildcats 101.2-83.7.

"We seemed a little shaky at the JV level that night. It was still a respectable showing, just not where we had set our goal for the night.

"The balance beam was a challenge. We just did not stay up there. The full turn requirement was getting the best of us," said Oberg. "Anytime a gymnast 'falls', there is an automatic loss of a half point from her score."

Seventh grader, Abby Travis competed on beam for her first time and received a 4.0. Paige Loew, also a seventh grader, competed on the uneven bars for her first time and received a 3.2.

Other personal-bests achieved at the junior varsity meet included Amanda Moser with a score of 4.3 and Risa Fehr with a score of 3.8 on the uneven bars, it was . In the floor exercise, personal-bests were recorded by Michaela Jarvis with a 3.5, Emily Moser with a 3.6, Kendra Buro with a 4.3, and Hailey Kotts with a score of 6.6.

"Kotts has really been coming along with her floor routine," said Oberg. "She is starting to put some pressure on the varsity gymnasts' positions."

At the varsity level, the Tigers posted a season-high team score of 115.35 to the Wildcats' score of 131.35.

"It has been several seasons since we have ended with a score that high. In all honesty, I was not expecting a score that high," said Oberg. "During the meet, I did not feel the routines were as clean or solid as they had been in the past. We were not hitting on all cylinders. When that final score was announced, I was pleasantly surprised.

"Inside I was just beaming, knowing that we still had a lot of potential in the squad and our peak for the season is yet to come."

The school record for team total is a 125.825 set at the Section meet in 2005.

"It has been exciting to dig up some of the old stats to compare where we are and where we have the potential to be," added Oberg.

Even with our teams' struggle with full turns on the balance beam, we had a season-high event score of 29.95," said Oberg.

The varsity school record is 31.05.

"We are within reach of that," said Oberg. "In simple terms, that is the difference of two falls on the beam."

Senior captain Katie Huot stuck her beam routine and received a score of 8.3 giving her a tie for second place.

Junior Missy Ascheman improved her personal-best beam score to a 6.7 and junior Jess Daly set her new personal-best mark at 7.5 for the beam.

At the uneven bars, the event total of 26.2 represents a season-high for the varsity.

"Sophomore Rachel Moser led the way with a beautiful routine that gave her a new personal-best score of 8.0 and a second-place finish," said Oberg. "Her routine appeared flawless, almost too easy. We have been working with new tricks and she needs to get them in place soon. She has peaked her current routine - with the current tricks in her routine, she will not score much higher than the 8.0.

"Deep down, I think that Rachel is going after the individual school record of 8.7 set by Bonnie Plocker (Bartell) in 1994."

Other personal-best scores in varsity action that night include freshman Larissa Schmidgall on the bars with a 4.4 and the floor exercise with a 6.05, seventh grader Paige Schieler on the bars with a 6.1, and senior captain Michelle Jipson with a score of 8.15 on the floor.

"Even with several technical difficulties with the stereo equipment at the floor exercise, the girls did not panic and kept their composure. Had the equipment been working properly, I think that we might have been a little higher with our scores. The music was hard to hear at times, and that is an important part of the routine and its choreography.

"The coaches were extremely pleased with the score that night," concluded Oberg. "We realized that the next several meets would be getting closer and closer in scores with our competitors. The girls are hungry for a conference win and I know that they will be giving their all."