Royal gymnasts to return 3 state qualifiers

Brooke Leaf, a four-time state competitor, is one of three graduating Royals this season. Ally Matrella and Megan McCain will also leave large shoes to fill when they graduate this spring. (Patriot staff photo by Melissa Marohl)

Brooke Leaf, a four-time state competitor, is one of three graduating Royals this season. Ally Matrella and Megan McCain will also leave large shoes to fill when they graduate this spring. (Patriot staff photo by Melissa Marohl)

History was made this season by the Watertown-Mayer gymnastics team.

During the 2013-14 year, the Royals reset both the varsity and junior varsity all-time team score records, pushing the bar up to 144.65 for the varsity competitors and 130.8 at the JV level. The team also reset the school floor record twice, raising the bar to 37.525 for the four-person score.

The Royals won two invitationals including their home invite and at Northfield, and finished seventh at the True Team State competition. As a team, the Royals also won the Gold award for their academics.

Seven Royals received some kind of All-State honors, including Brooke Leaf who was All-State on beam and floor, Megan McCain on beam, Tina Scanlon on vault and floor, and Katie Heilman on vault and floor. Caitlin Duske was All-State on vault and floor and Ailsa Gilbert earned the honors for vault and floor. Caitlin Kammerer earned All-State Honorable Mention honors on balance beam.

According to head coach Steve Hangartner, one of this year’s highlights was making a run for the state team entry by challenging New Prague, where the Royals posted their highest ever team score, a 144.65.

“It was one of the best seasons ever,” Hangartner said. “The girls were an amazing group to work with. They practice hard every practice and had fun doing it.”

Brooke Leaf, Megan McCain, and Ally Matrella will graduate this spring and will be hard to replace, Hangartner said.

“All three girls made the year go very smoothly,” he said. “They did a great job leading the team.”

Matrella specialized on vault and floor, and was a part of the group that broke the school vault record. She is also ranked 16th all-time at WMHS with a vault score of 9.15.

Leaf, a four-time state qualifier, specialized on floor and beam, scoring a high of 9.525 on floor and a 9.5 on beam.

McCain will leave her legacy as the tenth best all around gymnast ever to compete at Watertown-Mayer, according to Hangartner.

“She was a rare gymnast because of her strength and extreme flexibility,” Hangartner said. “Her strongest event was beam which she scored a 9.375 at the section meet under major pressure.”

Next year, Tina Scanlon and Caitlin Duske will return to lead the team as seniors. Hangartner said both are very hard workers.

“Tina competed in the state meet as an all arounder and Caitlin was the state runner up on the floor exercise last year,” he said, proving that the departing seniors are leaving the team in good hands.

Hangartner said this year’s team was both motivated and dedicated.

“They are already asking when can they workout for next year,” he said.

The team finished the regular season 10-0 and was second at the Section 2A meet in early February, falling just short of qualifying for state as a team, but sending Katie Heilman, Tina Scanlon, Brooke Leaf, and Ailsa Gilbert as individuals.

Heilman and Scanlon represented the Royals in the all around competition, while Heilman also qualified on vault. Leaf and Gilbert performed on the floor, where Gilbert finished fourth.

Team awards included: Most Improved (Elsa Thonn), Most Enthusiastic (Katie Heilman), Best Attitude (Megan McCain), Hardest Worker (Caitlin Duske), Beam Award (Megan McCain and Brooke Leaf), and MVP (Tina Scanlon).

 

Contact Melissa Marohl at melissa.marohl@ecm-inc.com

 
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