Hodag Gymnasts Champions Again
By Student Writer - Connor Kuczmarski | Published: 02/16/2013
Saturday's Great Northern Conference meet was particularly kind to the Rhinelander High School gymnastics team, as the girls once again rolled through the competition to take first place in the small school division with a team score of 117.675. Champions for the second straight year, the Hodags took the top two spots in the all around competition and solidified themselves as the program to beat in the GNC.
"We had a decent day," RHS gymnastics coach Jen Pooch said. "We were undefeated. Floor went really well for us, bars were pretty good, and beam went okay. Overall we had a pretty good day."
Luckily for the Hodags, a "decent" day is quality enough to knock off Chequamegon, Mosinee/Marathon, Lakeland, and Medford for the top spot. Chalk that one up to the depth and plethora of experience on the Hodag gymnasts' roster.
The most dominant event of the day for the Hodags was the floor exercise, as the Rhinelander team's patience and precision payed dividends, as they went on to sweep the top four event finishes. Elle Spiegelhoff took first place with a score of 8.675, while Sara Krueger took second with a 7.975. Megan Thornton and Stephanie Allen rounded out the top four, finishing with scores of 7.925 and 7.900.
The senior duo of Spiegelhoff and Thornton couldn't be slowed down, as they continued to impress in their final career conference meet. They went on to take first and second place respectively on both the balance beam and the uneven bars. Spiegelhoff finished with a 7.725 on the beam and a 8.100 on the bars, while Thornton took silver in both events with scores of 7.700 and 7.800. Spiegelhoff placed third on the vault with a score of 8.100, finishing her conference career as the Great Northern Conference all around champion (32.600).
"Elle had a great day today," Pooch said. "She took first place in every event except the vault where she took third. It was just a super day for her. Sara Krueger and Megan Thornton had nice days as well. Megan took third on the floor, second on the beam, second on bars, and second in the all around. Stephanie Allen had a really nice floor routine, her knee is still bothering her so she only did bars and floor today. I am proud of her for gutting through that."
Thornton finished second in the all around competition behind Spiegelhoff, capping an impressive regular season high school career with a composite score of 30.875.
Pooch spoke about the excitement her team felt when they were crowned the champions for the second season in a row as a team, as well as individual achievements she saw from her girls.
"I know the girls are really excited," Pooch said. "Some teams are getting closer to us, I know Chequamegon had a 113.050, and it is good to come out and win it again today. Individually placing we swept the top four on floor, and just individually the girls are very proud of themselves. We have a few things to work on for sectionals but overall we are pretty excited about being repeat champs."
The Hodags cap an impressive season in which they won all four of their conference triangulars by going undefeated on the day. The Hodags could have finished as low as second and still taken the conference championship outright, but the Hodags would not be denied a chance at conference perfection.
The Hodags push forward, with a championship feather in their caps, to their WIAA Division 2 sectional on Thursday in Antigo. Pooch is confident about the event, but explains that things will continue to be refined to give her Hodags the best shot at success.
"We definitely have things to work on," Pooch explained. "On the balance beam we will clean things up a little and on vault as well. We had some falls on bars we haven't had this year and hopefully those areas clean up. Hopefully Stephanie will be back in all events, as she is usually one of the top vaults on the team. It would be great to have her back. We just need to tweak little things and skills here and there."
The Hodags compete in Antigo at their sectional meet on Feb. 21. Competition begins at 5 p.m.
1. Rhinelander 117.6750
2. Chequamegon 113.0500
3. Mosinee/Marathon 111.3500
4. Lakeland 99.2000
5. Medford 98.2250
1. Elle Spiegelhoff, RHS, 32.600
2. Megan Thornton, RHS, 30.875
3. Alexis Stueber, CHS, 29.825
1. Elle Spiegelhoff, RHS, 8.100
2. Megan Thornton, RHS, 7.800
3. Alexis Stueber, CHS, 7.425
9. Alyssa Ellis, RHS, 6.550
16. Stephanie Allen, RHS, 4.900
21. Nikki Ellis, RHS, 4.175
1. Alexis Stueber, CHS, 8.350
2. Cassie Riddsford, CHS, 8.200
3. Elle Spiegelhoff, RHS, 8.100
9. Megan Thornton, RHS, 7.450
12. Sara Krueger, RHS, 7.250
22. Maddie Fix, RHS, 6.600
23. Nikki Ellis, RHS, 6.350
1. Elle Spiegelhoff, RHS, 7.725
2. Megan Thornton, RHS, 7.700
3. Hannah Nigh, Mosinee/Marathon, 7.400
10. Sara Krueger, RHS, 6.675
11. Nikki Ellis, RHS, 6.350
14. Maddie Fix, RHS, 5.825
1. Elle Spiegelhoff, RHS, 8.675
2. Sara Krueger, RHS, 7.973
3. Megan Thornton, RHS, 7.925
4. Stephanie Allen, RHS, 7.900
7. Kenzi Meendering, RHS, 7.500
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