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|Paynesville Press - December 3, 2003|
Gymnasts prepare for winter slate
The Bulldogs gymnastics team has been busy relearning their moves and preparing their routines for their first meet, which was held on Tuesday night against NL-S at the Lake Koronis Assembly Grounds, where the Bulldogs practice and have their meets.|
The Bulldogs return nine girls who got varsity experience last year, including ninth grader Kacy Nehowig, who was All Conference last year and broke the school record on the uneven bars.
Despite injuries, the Bulldogs had a record of 8-10 last year. The team lost two seniors - Mandy Mayer and Tessa Miller - but the returning squad picked up varsity experience last year due to injuries.
Returning to the team this year, all with some varsity experience, are juniors Abby Lindeman, Katie Nelson, and Ashley Spanier; sophomore Kayla Nelson; ninth graders Celia Frieler, Nehowig, and Brittany Spanier; and eighth graders Casey Lund and Christine Spanier.
Coach Deb Nehowig assists junior Katie Nelson during a tumbling run. Nelson is one of three captains this year, along with junior Ashley Spanier and ninth grader Kacy Nehowig.
Newcomers to the team this year are seventh grader Anna Kotten, ninth grader Sara Peterson, and junior Caitlin Mandigo.
With only 12 gymnasts, the team is the smallest in years.
Coach Deb Nehowig said she was pleased this year that the gymnasts seemed to be at the same level, skillwise, as when the season ended last year. Usually, she said, in high school gymnastics, athletes lose some of their skills unless they practice or compete in the offseason.
Still, the first few weeks of practice are always hectic as the team members need to work on their skills and prepare their routines for the first meet. After they get the first meet under their belts, said coach Nehowig, the team can concentrate on improving their skills and finetuning their routines.
Coach Nehowig said the team has a solid three performers on each apparatus - balance beam, floor exercise, uneven bars, and vault. The other varsity spots are still up for grabs, she said.
Kacy Nehowig and Anna Kotten, who both have participated in club gymnastics, are expected to compete in the all around for the varsity this year. Returning varsity regulars include Spanier on the vault and floor exercise; Katie Nelson on the floor; Kayla Nelson on the beam; and Lindeman on the bars.
Coach Nehowig expects the floor exercise and the vault to be the team's strengths this year, while the uneven bars could be its weakness. Last year, the team was hit or miss on the beam, struggling with falls. The Bulldogs face a tougher schedule this year. Kimball, who they beat last year, dropped its program, and Sauk Centre, whom the Bulldogs were competitive with last year, has combined with LPGE.
The Bulldogs will host the West Central Conference Meet in February at the high school gym. Otherwise, their home meets will be held at the gymnasium at the Lake Koronis Assembly Grounds, where the team practices.
This year, Nehowig is being assisted by Diane Nelson, a first-year coach.
Captains for the Bulldogs this year are Katie Nelson, Kacy Nehowig, and Ashley Spanier.
The Bulldogs hosted their first meet on Tuesday against NL-S. They will travel to St. James on Friday and will host LPGE on Tuesday, Dec. 9.
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