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Tiger gymnasts earn first place at Moorhead

The Morris Area/ Chokio-Alberta gymnastics team took first place in the Tigers' division at the varsity-only Moorhead Invite on Saturday.

The meet is divided into two divisions - Gold and Silver, based upon the average team scores to date. Similar scoring teams are  placed in the same division. The Tigers competed with the teams in the Silver Division.

In the Silver Division, the Tigers placed first with their 117.1. In second place was Moorhead Black with 112.85 and third place went to Fargo Silver with 108.85.

The Tigers' score of 117.1 is the highest team score since the 2004-2005 season in which two gymnasts went to state - Christine Grotjohn and Samantha Jipson.

The Tigers had two ties for personal-best scores; eight new personal-best scores; four new season-high event totals; and a new season-high team total.

"I was watching the Lady Tigers as they were sitting on the floor.  I wish that I would  have video-taped it," said coach Trent Oberg.  "At first, they had a look of shock and disbelief.  Then it was  like slow motion - they looked over at Jodi and I as if to say 'are they right, were  our scores correct'. I smiled and nodded, then the screams started.

"The Lady Tigers had earned first place and set a new season-high team score in the process.   (This had just been set two days earlier)  An improvement of seven points," added Oberg.

"After the results were read, I had the girls come over and sit down for some comments.  Before I could even begin, a couple of them piped up with Oberg was right - we do  have more to offer. 

"The girls did an awesome job and we  were very proud of  them," added Oberg. "They had fun, worked hard, and gave it their best.  We were very pleased."

"This was an awesome meet for us."

It was the first time the Tigers had participated in the Moorhead Invite. Due to the weather, some of the teams were not able to attend.  This helped the meet to move along.

"The girls were ready for a fun meet - this meet did not impact our West Central  Conference Stats or Section standings," explained Oberg. "We told them to let loose, try their best,  and have fun.

"Our rotation for warm-ups and competition was busy," said Oberg.  "We were the first team on  beam.  We then went right to floor and then right to vault.  There was a bye and  then  we had bars.

"Most of the time in an invite situation a team would have more breaks in between each event, but we did not worry about it - we were going to  have fun. 

"Beam has been a struggle for us.  By doing beam first, we could be over with the nerves right away and then be able to focus on the other events  instead of it looming over us.

"As the girls were performing, it was difficult to keep track of the scores that they received.  It was a different format than we were used to.  The scores were not shown after their respective performance.  They were taken to the head table and entered in the computer.  The results screen was displayed on a wall during the  meet.  So to find your score was tricky - since there were two different divisions  that day the screen kept changing.

"I felt that we were doing a good job throughout the meet," Oberg said. "The girls were smiling,  supporting one another, and just having a good time.

"Once we had finished our bars set, Jodi was looking over the scores that she had been keeping.  In my mind I had been trying to keep a rough idea of where we might be at, but when she showed me her total, I just about dropped.  We looked at each  other and looked again at the score - then said to each other, lets just wait, maybe  we made a mistake. 

"Scores are not official until the results are announced," added Oberg. "I have to admit it was very exciting waiting for the results.  Inside, I was dancing and wanting to burst at the seams.  I knew the reaction of the girls would be priceless."

Medals were given to first and second place, with ribbons going to third, fourth, and fifth places.

Kourtney Giese received first place on vault, third place on bars, third place on floor, and second place in all-around.

Abby Travis received third place on vault.

Kendra Buro received fifth place on bars.

Savannah Aanerud received fourth place on beam, fourth place on floor, and third place in all- around.