By Brenda Erdahl, Sports Editor:
The Maple Lake gymnastics team hosted two meets last week.
On Tuesday, Jan. 9, the Irish finished runner-up to Becker, 137.125 to 130.375. On Thursday, Jan. 13, Irish gymnasts took top honors out of eight competing teams at Maple Lake’s annual Tumble in the Jungle. Olivia Latour battled for a second-place finish on the beam against a tough squad of Becker gymnasts. Finishing with a score of 8.525, she had one of the top finishes all day for the Irish. “Olivia had a great night on the beam,” Head Coach Kaitlyn Helmbrecht said. Gracie Elsenpeter claimed three more second-place finishes for Maple Lake with her performances on the vault, bars and floor with scores of 9.375, 8.65, and 9.325, respectively. Elsenpeter also finished fourth on the beam (8.1) and won the All Around with a cumulative score of 35.45. Other top placers for the Irish include, on the vault: fifth place Shauni Johnson, 8.625, eighth place Latour, 8.3, ninth place Brook Mergen 8.05 and 10th Abby Gagnon, 7.7; bars: sixth place Johnson, 7.5, seventh Susie Rieber 7.475, eighth place Latour 7.375 and 10th Mergen 6.6; beam: seventh Gagnon, 7.45, ninth Rieber 6.625, and 10th Johnson 6.25; floor: sixth Johnson 8.4, seventh Mergen, 8.325, eighth Latour, 8.275, and 10th Gagnon 7.15; all around: sixth Latour, 32.475, and eighth Johnson, 30.775. Coaches noted that Desiree Harvey also had a good night for the Irish, performing a “nice Front Handspring Vault which she stuck.” “This was a good meet for both teams and it was fun to see some great gymnastics from both teams,” Helmbrecht said.
Saturday’s Tumble in the Jungle saw top performances from athletes as the Irish cruised to a team season high, plus season highs on bars and beam. “It was lots of fun with energetic routines and some great competition,” Helmbrecht said. “I am proud of the girls for getting yet another season high team total. It’s great to see how far they have come from the beginning of the season and I look forward to seeing how they will continue to improve leading up to sections,” added coach Jaclyn Schermer. Elsenpeter led the team to first with four first place finishes including the all around. She claimed top honors on the beam (8.9), the floor (9.1), the vault (9.2) and the all-around (35.85). She was also second on the bars with an 8.65. Latour claimed fourth on the beam with an 8.6, eighth on the vault with an 8.75, fifth in the all-around with a 33.1 and 14th on the floor (8.35). Other top performances from the Irish came from Johnson who finished ninth in the all-around (32.45), 10th on the vault (8.6) and 12th on the beam (8.05); and Mergen who finished 11th on the bars (7.7) and 13th on the floor (8.35). “It is nice to see the hard work the gymnasts are putting in show,” coach Paul Fouquette said. “These girls are motivated not just to be great gymnasts but a great team” coach Danielle Leinonen said. As a team the Irish claimed first with a 133.35 score. St. Louis Park was runner-up with a 130.95, and Kasson Mantorville Triton was third with a 130.1. Granite Ridge Conference schools Paynesville, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, and Little Falls also competed.
The Irish will travel to Little Falls on Friday, Jan. 19, for a 6 p.m. contest.