Gymnastics: Young squad scores with experienced faces

By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports

Wins and losses are not the telling story for this year’s St. Michael-Albertville girls’ gymnastics team.
Under the guidance of first-year volunteer head coach Nicole Ramler, the Knights are competing this season with young faces and a limited head count.
With most teams sporting 20-30 girls in their gymnastics program, the 2012-13 Knights have 15-20 girls competing through their varsity and junior varsity programs.
With five meets under their belt, the Knights have a 0-3 dual-meet record. Ramler said they are looking each week to improve on their own overall scores.
STMA scored 111.3 points and finished 7th out of eight teams at the Bulldog Invite at Becker on Dec. 1. They lost, but scored 115 points in its opening dual meet Dec. 13 against Cambridge-Isanti. Two days later, the Knights scored a season-high 118 and placed 8th at the 10-team Annandale Invite. The Knights were at the Watertown Mayer Invite last Saturday and scored 115.05.
“We had one gymnast who was ill,” said Ramler, who was missing their floor leader, Julia Leigh, a sophomore and two-year varsity player. “Watertown Mayer was not our best meet.”
Captain Jenna Lee – the team’s lone senior, performed two new skills at the Watertown Mayer Invite. She scored for a bonus on the floor exercise and one for a front handspring front full. Lee and junior Madison Haider are this year’s captains.
“Jenna is stepping in this year as our team’s score leader,” Ramler said. “Madison is beam only, but she has great leadership skills.”
Another sophomore, Jada Brown, may be the Knights best young player. Ramler said she is a power tumbler and one of the team’s best scorers. Sophomore Melissa Berning is also seeing time on the varsity squad.
The Knights have three more dual meets to close out the regular season. On Jan. 17 at 4:30 p.m. they are at Monticello. They close out the regular season with home meets on Jan. 24 against Big Lake and Jan. 31 against Buffalo. Big Lake will be Senior Night and Buffalo will be Parents Night.