High School gymnastics scores statewide have been on the decline much of this season, thanks mostly to a rule-change that – in
short – erased much of the chances to compile bonus points in the ever-complicated scoring system.
At Champlin Park, that’s caused the Rebels to hover around the 130-point mark as a club, a mark that remains below expectations, but has surprisingly equaled the team’s average score from just a year ago.
That, according to head coach Jon Wynia, is a promising sign. His reasoning being that despite the more difficult scoring guidelines, the Rebels have managed to maintain.
That leaves them in the minority this year across much of the state, and in solid position to wrap up a top-three finish in the Northwest Suburban Conference.
“It’s been an interesting year because of the scoring changes, but with that in consideration, but we are almost right where we were last year,” Wynia said. “Teams are scoring about four or five points less than they were last year. We’ve pretty much stayed the same. We’ll take that.”
There is another consideration to take into account as well for Champlin Park.
The Rebels won a tri-angular with Coon Rapids and Anoka Jan. 16, posting a season-best score of 131.15.
They got there behind a solid performance in the all-around from ninth-grader Taylor Guckeen, who posted a score of 34.2 and was the meet champion on all four individual apparatuses.
She was followed in almost every category by senior captains Somer Soli, Cassidy Soli and Lexi Marquard.
But Amanda Cunningham’s name was absent, as it has been all season. She was Champlin Park’s top performer from a year ago, but an injured back has left her sidelined this winter.
“We’ve had great leadership from our captains,” Wynia said. “These kids really care. And Taylor has been great. But we do miss Amanda. She is a really talented gymnast.”
Cunningham, Wynia added, has some of the ability it takes to manage the type of requirement needed to get by in the new scoring system, mainly connecting back-to-back, advanced tumbles and leaps that add the elements needed to earn the bonus.
Nonetheless, Champlin Park has survived.
Elk River/Rogers/Zimmerman has emerged as the front-runner in the NWSC. Centennial, which narrowly beat the Rebels early in the season, has a grasp on second play, and Champlin Park is clinging to third.
Wynia said Blaine and Maple Grove could present a threat to that standing. The Rebels did beat both in their own Luau Invitational Dec. 15, but the regular season will conclude with a trip to Maple Grove Jan. 31 and a home meet with Blaine Feb. 7.
“It’s not over yet,” said Wynia, who will take his team to Osseo for a meet that begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24. “And we have continued to improve. We could be closer to a 133 or 134. We are still peaking, and we are excited about that.”
Contact Nick Clark at [email protected]