Rhinelanderís Megan Thornton mounts the vault during Mondayís Great Northern Conference triangular at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium in Rhinelander. (Jeremy Mayo/River News)
1/17/2013 7:30:00 AM Hodag gymnasts win home triangular
Jeremy Mayo Sports Editor
The Rhinelander High School gymnastics team easily covered the field Monday in a Great Northern Conference Small Division triangular at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium.
The Hodags scored 115.95 points Monday, besting Chequamegon (103.7) and Lakeland (91.135).
RHS gymnastics coach Jen Pooch said her team is not where it would like to be yet, especially on balance beam, but Monday's meet was a vast improvement from the team's last competition, where it scored in the 111s.
"Beam is still a stickler for us, but we had way (fewer) falls tonight," Pooch said. "Some of those points come from connections, too. We've been working on beam really hard and will continue to work on beam really hard. We're progressing on it. That's all I can ask for. I would rather us struggle now, progress and peak later, than struggle at the end of the year with it."
Senior Elle Spiegelhoff won the individual all-around with a score of 31.125 points. Teammate Megan Thornton was second all-around (29.75).
Spiegelhoff won the floor exercise (8.35) and the uneven bars (8.075). Thornton placed first on the balance beam (7.275).
The Hodags swept the top three positions on uneven bars with Spiegelhoff, Thornton (7.45) and Alyssa Ellis (6.95).
"Megan and Alyssa both did their uprises today," Pooch noted. "We're building toward an uprise with a free hip, which adds more points. Neither of them did it today, but they did really clean uprises to a back hip circle. With the progression, that's just awesome."
Spiegelhoff, Krueger (7.95), Thornton (7.725), Allen (7.475) and Kenzi Meendering (7.2) swept the top five positions on floor exercise. Spiegelhoff, Sara Krueger and Stephanie Allen finished in a tie for second on the vault (8.05).
"Vault went really well for us today, a lot better than it was going," Pooch said. "Floor continues to be good for us. There are a few little things here and there. I know we can definitely get four-to-five tenths higher out of every girl on floor. But, like I said, I'd rather peak later with that stuff."
But balance beam continued to plague Rhinelander. The Hodags totalled 10 falls between their five varsity gymnasts, deducting five points from their overall score.
"If we put together the beam routines the way we should, with the connections, we should be getting 33s (in the event)," Pooch said. "Today we were at 26(.425). We've got some work to do. That's better than what we've been doing with two 24s, but if we want to compete with Ashland and Antigo coming up here, we need to pick it up in that spot, especially.
"Megan had a couple falls, but she still held it together to get a seven and win that event. The other girls on beam, some of the things we were struggling on we did better on today."
A team score in the 115-range will be enough to dominate in the GNC Small, where the Hodags have never lost a conference triangular, but Pooch said to be in the running to qualify for state, the team needs to take a step forward.
"I know we can get a 120. We were only (four) points off tonight," she said. "We need to be in that area to be able to compete. I know the girls are working toward it."
Rhinelander and Chequamegon will travel to Mosinee Jan. 21 for another conference triangular.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
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