Royals send four gymnasts to state

After an intense Section 2AA battle, in which the Watertown-Mayer gymnastics team made a run at defending state champion New Prague, the Royals would finish second in Mankato last weekend, failing to qualify for state as a team, but qualifying four individuals, some in multiple events.

To make the individual competition, a gymnast must finish in the top four of a given event, including the all around. For Watertown-Mayer, sophomore Katie Heilman qualified on both vault and in the all around, while junior Tina Scanlon advanced in the all around. Senior Brooke Leaf and seventh grader Ailsa Gilbert will represent on the floor exercise.

WMHS head coach Steve Hangartner said the Royals had a nice meet, breaking the school record team score of 143.95, set last season, and raising the new bar to 144.650.

He said the run at a team title was a complete team effort and the Royals supported each other wholly throughout the meet.

“Defending state champion New Prague found themselves being challenged for the championship by Watertown-Mayer after the first two events,” Hangartner said. “New Prague went on to hit their last 10 routines to seal the victory and a berth to the state tournament.”

Those gymnasts who place in the top ten of any event are named to the All-Tournament Team.

Four Royals placed on vault, led by Heilman’s event-winning 9.4. Gilbert was fifth overall at 9.325, while junior Caitlin Duske was seventh and 9.225 and Scanlon ninth at 9.1.

Scanlon and senior Megan McCain were 6-7 on bars, with Scanlon scoring an 8.875 and McCain with an 8.650. Sophomore Caitlin Kammerer was tenth in the event at 8.275.

McCain also pulled off a top ten finish on beam, finishing fifth at 9.325. Heilman and Scanlon rounded out the top ten on beam with scores of 9.025 and 9.0, respectively.

Leaf earned her state tournament entry by tying for second on the floor exercise with a score of 9.5. The tiebreaker placed her third. Gilbert was fourth at 9.450, also qualifying for state, while Scanlon was fifth at 9.375.

Scanlon and Heilman finished third and fourth in the all around, qualifying to compete for the all around title at state. Scanlon had a total 36.350 all around score, while Heilman was at 35.800.  Duske was eighth all around at 34.700.

The individual state competition is this Saturday, Feb. 22 at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion.