Rhinelander High School gymnastics team award winners for the 2013-14 season are (front row, from left) Kenzi Meendering, Nikki Ellis, Stephanie Allen, Alyssa Ellis, Sara Krueger, (back row) Maddie Fix, Susanna Roberts and Schye Skinner. (Bob Mainhardt for the River News)
3/26/2014 2:45:00 PM Hodag gymnasts hold awards banquet
With athletes participating in spring sports practicing all around them, the Rhinelander High School gymnastics team and their parents took time Tuesday to reflect on their winter season.
Head coach George Allen provided a serious spread of food for the team banquet, and when the group was well fed, talk turned to the season's challenges and triumphs.
When it was time to hand out awards, Allen addressed the crowd and informed them he was doing awards his own way this year.
"They used to have the girls vote on awards, but we did it a little bit different this year," he said. "I asked the opinions of coaches and although everyone wasn't all on the exact same page, I feel the girls deserve what they're getting."
He handed out a "most valuable" award for each individual gymnastics event.
First, Stephanie Allen was named most valuable on the vault. Then, Alyssa Ellis received most valuable on the uneven bars. Nikki Ellis and Kenzi Meendering tied for most valuable on the balance beam, and Sara Krueger took home most valuable on floor exercise.
Allen then turned his attention to the more unique awards. First came the award for most dedicated.
"This girl just kept going and going and going all season long," Allen said. "She never stopped working. Susanna Roberts is the most dedicated."
The title of "most improved" was next. Allen said it was a tough to decide who should receive the award but he was happy with the result.
"Although every one of the girls improved so unbelievably much this year, this girl, when she came into gymnastics, had a pretty tough time doing a cartwheel," he said. "This year, most improved goes to Schye Skinner."
Then, saving the best for last, Allen handed out the MVP Award. For those who followed Hodag gymnastics this year, the result was anything but a shocker.
"I put on (the award) MVP All-Around," he said. "Not only was she MVP among her own team, but she was for me also, because whenever I had questions, I always went to this person for answers. Sara Kruger is our MVP All-Around."
With the coaches awards behind them, Krueger took it on herself to address the group. As the lone senior, she prepared a number of her own awards for each of her teammates. All were referred to some kind of inside joke among the gymnasts and the team shared some well-deserved laughs.
After the awards were handed out the group dissipated, but not before Allen turned the team's attention to next season, if only for a moment.
"We look forward to having a summer full of working out, unlike we had last year," he said. "We're going to try to get everyone together and continue working out."
Andy Hildebrand may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Northwoods River News | Walker Communications, LLC 232 S. Courtney Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501 | Office (715) 365-6397 | Fax (715) 365-6361
Corporate billing office: The Lakeland Times / Lakeland Printing Inc. | P.O. Box 790, Minocqua, WI 54548 | (715) 356-5236 | Fax (715) 358-2121 Members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Community Papers, Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce