BY DAVE PEDERSEN
Now that Amelia Sutherland is back to full speed ahead, Delano can get back to seeking another section gymnastics championship.
The senior co-captain has been limited most of the season with three stress fractures in her foot. She has been able to work on balance beam and uneven bars while sitting out on vault and floor exercise to make sure her injuries are completely healed.
Proclaimed ready and able to go all out, Sutherland competed in all four events against Dassel-Cokato Friday. She showed no worse for wear when winning every event and the all-around title, helping the Tigers win the meet 128.975 to 125.575.
Sutherland may have been able to overcome being out of action for two weeks when her foot was in a boot because injuries are nothing new, as are overcoming them. The senior has a history of injuries and success.
“It was hard to sit out in my last season, but I have been injured a lot in my career and I kind of know how it goes,” said Sutherland. “I knew I would eventually be back. The skills are in my muscle memory and I didn’t feel like I had any trouble getting back into it. Against Dassel-Cokato I was just excited to be back.”
Sutherland said this season she learned a more complicated vault and improved her front pass on floor exercise. Her favorite event has always been balance beam, but she has come to appreciate every event.
The senior made the Tiger varsity as a seventh-grader, but broke a foot and competed in just one meet. In eighth-grade she had one meet before breaking her hand, but made it back for sections to compete on balance beam and qualified for state, as did the team. Both major injuries happened when on beam.
In ninth-grade, Sutherland hyper-extended a knee and missed some meets. As usual, she recovered to win the section title on balance beam and help Delano advance to state as a team.
As a sophomore it was the one year when Sutherland’s team did not win the section title. However, several individuals qualified for state, including Sutherland, who defended her section crown on beam.
Delano returned to state as a team last season when Sutherland finished ninth at state on balance beam. Most of the gymnasts graduated, leaving Sutherland to lead a young group this season as a proven state meet competitor.
Starting in the sport at the age of 6, Sutherland competed at gym clubs until fifth grade when she quit, saying she needed a break from training year around, and “I wanted to make some friends.”
Missing the sport, Sutherland returned to the gym in seventh grade and earned a varsity spot. She says the key to success in this sport is to believe in yourself.
“My goal is never to make it to state as an individual, but to always do the best I can do,” adds Sutherland. “If it does not happen it is ok. My goal is to make it to state as a team. It is no fun to go it alone.”
Coach Jamie Greenberg said Sutherland always competes very well. “She is a strong gymnast that works very hard at practice,” adds the coach. “She has always been a positive role model both in and out of the gym. It is a great feeling to have a team that encourages each other every day.”
With a group of newcomers to varsity and injury slowing a proven leader, Delano has yet to score in the 130 point range, reaching 129’s a couple times. Last year Delano represented Section 5AA by scoring 139 points. Sutherland said she is excited to see how her young team will do at sections.
Delano competes at home against Glencoe-Silver Lake Thursday, Jan. 30. The section meet is Feb. 14 at Breck.