The Rhinelander High School gymnastics team returns their entire starting lineup for the 2017-2018 season and add several incoming freshmen to the mix. The Hodags' are optimistic for the season, and will look to push to compete at the WIAA Division 2 State Meet held in Wisconsin Rapids.
Last season, Rhinelander faced a series of challenges including several injuries as well as illness which put RHS behind. Luckily this season, the Hodags are starting healthy and bring back a core starting gymnasts. In 2016-2017, Rhinelander finished second in the Great Northern Conference Small Division finishing behind Medford and they placed sixth at sectionals.
The Hodags will return seniors Stephanie and Makayla Kuester. Stephanie Kuester missed the last three meets last year due to an injury, but is healthy to start the year. She also finished second in the GNC Small all-round as a sophomore. While her sister Makayla Kuester finished fourth on the floor and uneven bars and sixth on the vault at the GNC Meet last season.
Rhinelander brings back junior Raven Sturtevant who earned runner-up in the small GNC all-around. While fellow junior Harlie Zimmermann also returns and finished third in the GNC-small on the uneven bars and placed eighth overall in the all-around.
Alyssa Mitchell will be back on the lineup for RHS, after missing the last portion of the season due to a broken arm. Before Mitchell was injured she had a top-small GNC score on the beam at 7.650, good enough for third. Junior Mikayla Evenstad also returns and finished 14th overall last season in the GNC-small all-around.
The Hodags will have more depth to their lineup for this season, which includes Lilli Bishop, Amber Briggs, Lily Eternicka, Bridget Koser, Brynlei Kuhn, Emily Radke, Allysa Scheuermann, Autumn Shafer, and Lynnea Stout.
Looking ahead to the conference competition, rival Medford brings back all of their starters as well. As Rhinelander will look to regain the GNC-Small title this season. Last year, the Hodags finished less then two points behind the Raiders in the conference standings. Also Rice Lake will no longer be part of the Antigo Division 2 sectional, but the Hodags will still have to face Ashland and Antigo with the top two teams advancing to state.
Rhinelander will kick off their season and will compete over the weekend at the Wisconsin Rapids Classic. The following weekend, RHS will host their annual Snowflake Invite at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium. And the Hodags will start their GNC Small season on Tuesday, December 12th against Mosinee. The 2017-2018 GNC Meet will be held in Wisconsin Rapids on February 17th.