Maple Grove gymnasts look for improvement

The 2012-13 Maple Grove gymnastics team has a very clear goal for the season — keep improving its scores.

Last year, the Crimson had a very young and inexperienced team under first-year head coach Shannon Hoover. The Crimson showed progress throughout the season and finished strong.

“The team was a new varsity team last year and they worked very hard to finish third at sections,” Hoover said. “We started the season with a team score of 118 and finished their season with a 133. That’s a great improvement.”

Some of those inexperienced gymnasts gained one year of experience and are back. Top returning varsity gymnasts this year are senior all-conference Rachel Bailey, and sophomores Alex Ducosin and Lexi Anundson. Unfortunately, the Crimson’s top all-around competitor Courtney Latteral tore her ACL and is out for this season.

Hoover is looking for two junior high newcomers to contribute. Seventh grader Kate Aase is going to be a key competitor on bars, and Ashley Song, another seventh grader, is going to be a top competitor on beam.

Hoover feels the team’s strengths this year are beam and floor.

“We have beautiful choreographed floor routines and a lot of skill depth on beam,’ Hoover said. “Those gymnasts who can stay on in competition will be on my varsity line-up.”

The Crimson are off to a promising start, scoring a 126 in beating Anoka in their first meet of the season. Hoover looks for the score to climb after the holiday.

“We started our season with a 126. I’m happy with that start,” Hoover said. “We had some falls and some gymnasts held back on their harder skill, but after the holiday break they will be competing their harder skills to increase the score. I expect them to only go up in the team score. They are working very hard in the gym and are dedicated to improving.”

Results from the Anoka meet are:

The Crimson won all four events. Top finishers for Maple Grove Varsity are:

Vault: 1. Anundson 8.325, 2. Bailey 8.3, 3. Song 8.2

Bars:  1. Bailey 7.85, 2. Aase 7.55, 3. Anundson 6.75

Beam: 1. Song 8.075, 2. Aase 7.775, 3. Ducosin 7.6

Floor: 1. Ruth Nygard 8.175, 2. Ducosin 8.075, 3. Bailey 7.975

All Around: 1. Bailey 31.65, 2. Anundson 29.25, 3. Megan Merschman 27.95.