For the fourth straight year, the Owatonna High School gymnastics team will compete in the state meet at Maturi Pavilion. But the closeness with which they won the section was a little surprising to some. Northfield finished within a point of OHS after trailing by about five points during the Big Nine Conference meet.

Huskies coach Tom Smith knew that if the Raiders cleaned up some of their falls, they could be right there with OHS. Add in the fact that Owatonna struggled on the vault, usually their top event, and might have been shortchanged a little on the beam. That left the Huskies in the unfamiliar position of being behind in a meet. Smith was thrilled with how well the team redoubled their efforts and had a great beam and floor exercise.

Members of the team spoke with KRFO radio this week as they prepared for their trip to the Twin Cities.

Senior Sydney Kretlow is excited, even "super excited," to bookend her career with another state meet appearance. She enjoyed experiencing it the first time as a freshman with her older sister on the team. Now she gets to be a leader for the younger athletes.

 

 

Senior Ali An has plenty of state experience as a gymnast and a diver during the fall season. She said the team had to bear down after finding themselves in a battle with Northfield at the section meet.

 

 

Sophomore Lindsay Bangs is already a two-time place-winner in the all-around and gets the opportunity to participate again in Saturday's portion of the state meet.

 

 

Sophomore Lucy Macius loves the atmosphere and competition at the state meet but knows to stay calm is essential.

 

 

Freshman Janessa Moore vaults for the Huskies and enjoys the power that associated with the event.

 

 

Eighth-grader Cheyenne Peterson competes in several events for the Huskies and is happy to have some experienced teammates to help her adjust to the state meet atmosphere.

 

 

Seventh-grader Morgan Martinez was an emergency fill-in on the beam at sections and hit her routine to help the team secure its fourth straight title. She tried to relax. Coach Smith said she didn't know the full implication of how important her routine was.

 

Listen for coverage from the Maturi Pavilion Friday night beginning at 6 pm and around basketball coverage that night. Defending champ Stillwater is back at state, as is runner-up Lakeville North. The Huskies have finished third in each of the last two seasons.

The individual part of state is Saturday, February 23 at 6 pm. Bangs and An will compete then.