Royals enjoy record-breaking gymnastics season

The Watertown-Mayer gymnastics team may not have earned any team hardware this season — they were asked to leave the Wright County Conference after their title last season, and they came up short to New Prague in the section meet — but it was certainly a season for the record books for the Royals nonetheless.

The team had five gymnasts earn all-state honors, had another earn honorable-mention all-state honors, went 10-0 in dual meets, broke four school records and had two gymnasts qualify for state.

“It was a very rewarding, fun season,” Watertown-Mayer coach Steve Hangartner said. “The girls were very dedicated. They sacrificed a lot to accomplish what they did.”

The Royals five all-state gymnasts, as determined by achieving a particular score, was the most ever for the team. Brooke Leaf, Caitlin Duske, Megan McCain, Tina Scanlon and Katie Heilman all earned first-team all-state honors, and Ally Matrella earned honorable mention all-state honors. Leaf and Duske also both qualified for the state all-around competition, where Duske even placed as high as second on floor exercise and ninth on vault.

As strong as the Royals were as individuals, however, they were even stronger as a team. Their score of 143.975 at a meet broke a school record that had stood since 1994. The Royals also teamed up to set the school vault and beam records as well. Scanlon, Leaf, Duske and Heilman scored a 37.9 on vault to break a record with was set just last year, and Leaf, McCain, Heilman and Duske scored a 36.5 to break the beam record that was set in 2005.

The Royals finished sixth in the final team rankings, and their score at regions would have been good for fourth place at the state meet, but they fell short of qualifying because New Prague, the state champion, posted an unbelievable score. The Royals return every gymnast from this year’s team with even more experience next year, but New Prague will pose a challenge once again.

“It looks like we’re in the same boat next year since we are still in the same region,” Hangartner said. “With the girls’ positive attitudes and determination all things are possible. It will be an exciting season because we have a young team, and everybody will be coming back.”

Letter winners for the Royals this year were Leaf, McCain, Duske, Matrella, Scanlon and Kammerer. Duske was named the team’s MVP, Kammerer was named Most Improved, McCain won the Beam Award and Heilman was named Most Enthusiastic. Duske posted the team’s highest score of the year, a 9.75 on vault. Scanlon and Leaf tied for the highest score on bars at 8.65, Leaf had the highest beam score at 9.4, Duske had the highest floor exercise score at 9.530 and Leaf’s score of 36.7 was the best of the season in the all-around.

Contact Matt Bunke at [email protected]