Prep gymnastics: Tigers face tough early test

Prep gymnastics: Tigers face tough early test

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Prep gymnastics: Tigers face tough early test

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Eight’s great, but nine would be fine.

It’s a motto the St. Cloud Tech/Cathedral gymnastics team could use for 2013-14.

The Tigers have won eight straight Section 8-2A championships and would love to make it nine in a row.

That depends, however, on how Tech is able to fill in for the loss of three do-it-all seniors who led the Tigers to a third-place state Class 2A finish last February. Tech finished less than a point out of first place and a state championship.

“We’ve been working really hard this year to fill those spots,” said Paige Beuning, a senior at Cathedral and perhaps the team’s most decorated varsity returner.

Tech gets its unveiling at noon Saturday at the St. Cloud Apollo Invitational. It’s an eight-team meet that features defending state champion Roseville.

“That’ll be exciting,” Beuning said. “It’s always fun to go against them.”

Beuning has been going to the state meet as an individual since ninth grade. She is one of five seniors on this season’s team and one of five who are back after competing in the state tournament.

Also back from Tech’s state lineup is senior Jordan Wojtowicz (vault) and juniors Margaux Schmid (bars, beam), Sarah Lommel (vault, beam, floor) and Torrie Aycock (floor).

Beuning took 17th in the vault last year and says she has no personal goals. She just wants to see the team do as well as possible.

“We want to do our best,” Beuning said. “That’s our goal.”

The Tigers have won nine straight Central Lakes Conference titles and will be one of the favorites again, despite the loss of Kaitlin Mohs, Taylor Pick and Mariah Miller.

“We’re all working really hard and everybody’s putting in the time to get a lot better,” Schmid said.

Tigers are deep

Head coach Joel Stark-Haws said Tech’s depth is its strength this season. There’s a group of eight ninth-graders who should be heard from in meets.

“We have got a lot of freshmen this year,” Wojtowicz said. “They’ll have a lot of input in our success.

“They’re working really hard. Everyone’s pushing everyone to do better.”

Newcomers to watch, Stark-Haws said, are Allison Seehusen and Lara Aycock, Torri’s sister. Someone to watch later in the season is Lindsey Darlington, who is healing from a stress fracture and recovering from mononucleosis. There could be others.

“(Last season) was an excellent year,” Stark-Haws said. “One can never replace those three (Mohs, Pick and Miller).

“They were outstanding individuals. But we as a team can replace some of their scores.”

CLC balanced

Collen Stark-Haws, the Tigers’ assistant and the head coach’s wife, said she sees the Central Lakes as being the most balanced it has been in many years.

“The energy is up in the conference,” she said. “I think a lot of conference teams have been waiting those three Tech kids to graduate.

“Now that they have, I think they’re seeing if there are any weaknesses in our depth.”

Tech’s coaches don’t think so and are eager to find out.

“We’re of course going to try to defend our conference title,” Colleen Stark-Haws said. “Sartell is supposed to be a power this year.”

She also mentioned Brainerd and Willmar. Tech opened Thursday at Willmar.

She said it should be noted that all those teams have youth programs similar to Tech’s.

“It’s the combination of the youth program and being able to pick up a club kid every once in a while that keeps us in the top,” she said.

For now, the Tigers are just excited to be going against Roseville, which shocked No. 1-ranked Northfield at the state meet by .375 of a point. The Raiders had a 149.700, followed by Northfield (149.325) and Tech (149.150).

Park of Cottage Grove (146.050) was a relatively distant fourth. Roseville is expected to have its key people back and Saturday is the only time Tech will see the Raiders during the regular season.

“Those giant ‘R’s’ on their leotards are really obnoxious,” Wojtowicz quipped. “They are fun to watch.”

Tech hopes to be, too.

“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing,” Beuning said.”We’re working really hard and we’ve got to keep that up.”

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