Team: WHS gymnastics
Coach: Molly Oscarson
Assistant coaches: Jen Trelstad, Mary Jo Hughes
Captains: Ella Hommer and Abby Fahrenkamp
Conference: Wright County
Class/Section: Class A, Section 2 – Blue Earth, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Mankato East/Loyola, Mankato West, New Prague, New Ulm, St. Peter, Waseca, and Watertown-Mayer
2013 finish: Last season, the Wildcats successfully defended their 2012 conference title, clinching the WCC two years running. Waconia finished the season 9-3 overall and was undefeated in the conference. The ‘Cats logged their highest ever team score of 136.625, finished third in the section, and qualified then-senior Alexanna Gluck to the state competition after winning the section all around title. The Wildcats were also recognized as State Gold Academic award winners.
Key losses: The Wildcats are hurting for experience this season after losing last year’s seniors in Gluck, Katie McMahon, and Mckensie Livermore. Gluck and Livermore were 2013 All-Conference recipients, while McMahon was All-Conference Honorable Mention, and between them all, the three collected nine All-State Honorable Mention honors for various events.
Key returnees: The only returning varsity members this season are captains Ella Hommer and Abby Fahrenkamp, both of whom are just sophomores.
“We have a very, very young team,” assistant coach Jen Trelstad said.
“It’s a growing year,” head coach Molly Oscarson added. “It’s a whole new ball game.”
Hommer was a two-time All-State Honorable Mention honoree last season in vault and floor and also earned All-Conference recognition.
Newcomers: The new faces of the Wildcats all bring previous gymnastics experience to the team, but none at the varsity level. Look for freshman Raven Concaghblount, eighth grader Grace Edsill, and seventh graders Katie Fahrenkamp and Rachel Runyon to round out the varsity Wildcats.
This year, the Wildcats are working with a smaller team than in years passed and Oscarson said this will probably be a growing season.
“I think it’s just one of those growing years,” she said.
Teams to beat: Delano remains Waconia’s biggest competitor on the gymnastics stage, along with essentially every other team on the schedule this year.
New Prague, a multiple state championship team, remains at the top of the Wildcats’ Section 2A list, along with 2013 section runners up Watertown-Mayer.
“We’re still trying to be the state champs, New Prague,” Oscarson said.
Goals: While the Wildcats would love to defend their two-time conference title and return a gymnast to state, Oscarson and Trelstad agreed that the early season focal points are much more down to earth and include learning routines, preparing the girls to compete at the varsity level, and coming together as a team.
“We would love to keep our conference championship,” Trelstad said, while Oscarson added that “we just don’t know where we’re going to be yet.”
Floor and vault are already emerging as the team’s strongest events, while Oscarson said some new bar workers could also improve that event as the season begins.
First meet: The season begins Dec. 5 as the Wildcats host their top rival, Delano. Waconia will host New Prague the following Tuesday, Dec. 10.
Contact Melissa Marohl at firstname.lastname@example.org