Gymnastics places third in Harley Invitational

Allison Mueller

Emma Cavanaugh / Winonan

Winona State University’s gymnastics team took third place at the Harley Invitational in Milwaukee, Wisc. on Friday, Feb. 10 with a score of 186.850. Junior captain Katie Carling said the meet went well.

“We had a lot of awesome hit routines,” Carling said. “… we came in ahead of Eau Claire, but got beat by Whitewater and Southeast Missouri State.”

Carling received a score of 9.075 on bars, while junior Katie Pipp scored a 9.525, taking home fifth place for bars.

Junior Eboni Jackson, currently the only Winona State gymnast competing for an all-around score, placed fourth with a score of 37.225. First-year Samia Taylor also placed fourth in vault with a score of 9.400. Besides high scores from players, the meet contained a few other highlights.

“Hannah Norman hit her bar set all the way through for the first time, so that was a really stand out performance right there,” Carling said. “We had Alyssa Carroll, who is usually a floor and beam girl, but she added her vault back in yesterday, so that was a standout thing. We have a lot of stand out things each meet.” Carling said.

With 12 of the 26 members being first-year students, the fresh team has needed time to grow, according to head coach Beckie Rolbiecki.

“They have really taken the challenge of growing each week, and taking that to heart and doing their part to make that happen. As a result, our scores are reflecting that. The cohesiveness of the team is really important when it comes to putting together a great meet, and I’m seeing more and more of that,” Rolbiecki said.

As regionals grow closer, the team continues to hone their skills. The team is currently ranked third in the WIAC.

Carling said, “As a team, [the goal] is just to make it to nationals; that’s what we work every single day for. We’re looking for that every day. Individually, I just want to try and make my sets more consistent so that I can try and be more of a help for the team,” Carling said.

There are still six meets left until regionals, but the team has been scoring high early in the season. At the University of Wisconsin-Stout last weekend, the Warriors took home a score of 187.65.

“We’re competing at an incredibly high level right now for this time of the year. We didn’t hit a 187 last year until the end of the season, at nationals. So to have a 191 and 187 under our belt at this time of year is amazing, especially when you look at the youth of this group. I just think it’s phenomenal,” Rolbiecki said.

The Stout meet was scored by local judges, which are the same judges who have to assess the team at regionals.

“The sooner we can have a good performance in front of the judges, the better able we are to show them that we are a solid and very competitive program,” Rolbiecki said. “It’s important that we can perform well in front of our local judges, and show them that we are strong and competitive, and the kids knocked it out of the park. It was an intense meet, and we expected it to be a much closer meet score-wise, but our kids came through.”

The Warriors will compete at home against the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Friday, Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Smile On meet.

By Emma Cavanaugh