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Kotts, Giese named all-conference in gymnastics

Two Morris Area/ Chokio-Alberta Tigers were named all-conference at the West Central Gymnastics Meet Saturday, Feb. 11 at the New London-Spicer High School. Hailey Kotts and Kourtney Giese consistently placed throughout the season, finishing among the top 15 gymnasts in the conference to receive the honors.

Melrose Area took first place at the meet, followed by New London-Spicer, Paynesville/Eden Valley-Watkins, Benson/ Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, and Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta.

Each team competes against each other during the season in a dual meet setting. At the end of the season, the teams compete against each other again in the conference meet.

Individual gymnasts receive points during the regular dual meets. During the WCC Meet the point values double with first place receiving 10 points down to 10th place receiving one point.

These points are added together for the entire season. The top 15 girls are recognized as All-Conference Gymnasts, with the next five receiving Honorable Mention.

"Friday night's practice was shaky," said coach Trent Oberg. "I was not sure what to expect going into Saturday.

"The coaches had to look over past week's practices, the gymnasts' effort and attitude, consistency of routines, and scores," Oberg explained. "It is not easy to decide which five girls get to compete. The goal is to put the individuals out that we feel will provide the best result.

"We had a nice rotation for competition - we started at vault, and then went to bars, followed by beam, and we finished on floor.

"At vault we have been adding some twisting elements to the tricks trying to raise the difficulty level and scores," Oberg added. "The girls did a nice job. The scores maybe did not show it, but the competition is tighter and every detail counts.

"Hailey Kotts performed a nice handspring full receiving an 8.75 for her efforts," Oberg said.

Kotts tied her personal-best score and earned her a tie for sixth place in the vault competition.

"The bars are starting to improve," added Oberg. "It takes time though and strength. Our routines are starting to flow more smoothly and we are trying new tricks and combinations to get a higher score. We need to push more of the event requirements and clean up our form.

"The beam was a challenge," Oberg said. "We had too many falls. We did not look confident up there. The body checks and wobbles cost us. We have the overall requirements, but we are not getting full credit because of the falls, wobbles, and broken connections."

"The floor went very well for us," exclaimed Oberg. "We set a new season-high event total with a 31.0 - a 1.65 improvement.

"Coach Snell has been pushing the tumbling and back-to-back superior combinations and it has been paying off."

Savannah Aanerud set a new personal-best score of 7.2 with her floor routine.

"She has come a long ways since the beginning of the season," said Oberg. "Her form is improving and she is getting stronger.

"Hailey Kotts had a great floor routine and set a new personal-best score of 8.25 - the routine is really starting to come together for her.

"Kotts had a nice meet and set a new personal best in all-around with a 29.95," Oberg added. "I see her breaking the 30-point barrier soon.

"Our team total of 113.9 is a season high," Oberg said. "Knowing that we can get that in a bigger meet and with the number of falls that we had that day, it is exciting to see the future and what is possible for this team."

"It has been several years since we have had a Tiger earn all-conference status - so we are very pleased to have two receive the honor this year.

"Overall, we had a good meet," Oberg concluded. "At this point in the season, the judging is more strict - picky if you will - and every little detail counts."

This Saturday the Tigers travel to Melrose for the Section 6A meet which includes nine teams.