Hodag Gymnasts 4th At Ashland Invite
By Student Writer - Connor Kuczmarski | Published: 02/10/2013
The Rhinelander High School gymnastics team, despite missing key contributors, had an extremely solid day at the Ashland Invite. Using a combination of veteran leadership and youthful substitutes, the Hodags secured a fourth place team finish.
"We did pretty well today," RHS gymnastics coach Jen Pooch said. "Megan Thornton had an amazing day and some younger girls on JV stepped up. It was good."
Elle Spiegelhoff (ACT) and Maddie Fix (illness) both missed the competition on Saturday, but that didn't stop the Hodags from achieving a 118.0 team score.
Megan Thornton had the highest finish on the day for the Hodags, taking second place on the balance beam with a personal best 9.3. She went on to take fifth in the all around competition with a career high 33.35.
"Megan just had an awesome day," Pooch said. "She has been doing great recently. She scored a 9.3 on beam and she nailed her routine. Her 33.35 all around score is by far her career high. She did awesome."
Speaking with Thornton herself, she explained it was just a combination of small things coming together for her team.
"I think everyone executed the skills and routines we've been working on all year really well. We're peaking at the right time. We're comfortable with our routines and have been pretty consistent the last few meets. I was pumped we were able to pull off a 118 without Elle (Spiegelhoff) and Maddie (Fix). I think that says a lot about the depth of our team, that girls are able to step up and fill in."
Regarding her own impressive day, Thornton explained that a solid beam routine helped bolster her all around impressive day.
"Beam helped a lot," Thornton clarified. "We decided to switch up a few things in practice this week in order to eliminate falls for conference and sectionals. I'm just a lot more comfortable with my new routine. It was good enough for a 9.3 and my career high. Beam was our first event, so I was determined to do well in the other events after that. I just took it one event at a time and focused on what we've been working on in practice. Like the rest of the team I'm comfortable with my routine and just trying to stay consistent."
Stephanie Allen took 8th on the floor with a 8.25, as well as 10th on vault (8.2). Sara Krueger finished 14th on the floor (7.9), 10th on beam (7.8), and 10th on the floor (8.1). Cumulatively she placed 12th in the all around competition (28.45).
"Sara Krueger had a nice day as well," Pooch said. "Stephanie Allen did nice as well. The younger girls filled in and that was good to see."
Possibly the biggest takeaway from the day is the Hodags' resilience. Stepping up so impressively in the face of adversity, leaves high goals for the Rhinelander team with a full lineup.
Moving forward the Hodags are focusing on continuing to fine tune their routines for the Great Northern Conference meet.
"(We are focusing) mainly just on routines and a few little things that the girls can work on," Pooch said. "We will keep getting ready for sections and conference. We are going to focus on our routines and repetition of our skills. We have been pretty consistent lately and want to hit our routines."
The gymnasts travel to Stevens Point on Feb. 16th for the Great Northern Conference Meet. Coach Pooch has high expectations for her girls' on the day, as well as for the rest of the season.
"At conference we should take first place no problem," Pooch explained. "We definitely will have some top finishers and some girls' could make it beyond there and on to state. It is a matter of their mindset and what they put into it. We are hoping for the best."
1. Ashland 135.05
2. Superior 132.8
3. Grantsburg 125.35
4. Rhinelander 118.0
5. Chequamegon 115.6
6. Lakeland 108.5
Megan Thornton 5th 33.35
Sara Krueger 12th 28.45
Nikki Ellis 18th 25.5
Megan Thornton 9th 7.75
Alyssa Ellis 10th 7.4
Stephanie Allen 8th 8.25
Megan Thornton 9th 8.2
Sara Krueger 10th 8.1
Stephanie Allen 10th 8.2
Megan Thornton 12th 8.1
Sara Krueger 14th 7.9
Megan Thornton 2nd 9.3
Sara Krueger 10th 7.8 Pooch explained.
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