Aberdeen finished sixth at the State AA meet last winter with a score of 135.427. The Golden Eagles debuted this season with a 132.750.
Jamestown (N.D.) topped Aberdeen with a score of 138.350 to win the dual high school gymnastics meet on Thursday at the gymnastics center and auxiliary gym at Central. It was the first meet of the season for Aberdeen.
“I’m pleased with where we’re starting,” said Aberdeen coach Jennifer Deutsch. “Other teams don’t have the opportunity to train in the off season as much as we do. Some do. Some don’t. Since we have the opportunity, we need to roll with it. It’s nice to start where we are now and build, rather than rebuilding and trying to get things back.”
A highlight of the meet for the Golden Eagles was a possible school record by Alexis Clark in the floor exercise. The junior scored a 9.30 to win the floor exercise. The coaches will be checking to see if it is a new school record.
“The difference in the routine this year is a twisting 1½ layout,” said Clark, whose previous personal best was a 9.0. “It makes it more difficult. It took lots of practice. I’ve been training all year round — this summer and this school year.”
Clark, whose favorite gymnast is Gabby Douglas of the U.S. Olympic team, finished second in the all around with a score of 34.35. She just missed the automatic qualifying score for the state meet, which is 35.0.
“I’ve been hoping for the record for awhile and we think I broke it so that’s an added plus,” she said. “I’d like to break the school record in the vault. I’ll pull a new skill at the next home meet with a handspring front 1½. We’re off to a good start.”
Hard work over the summer was part of Clark’s success.
“She’s starting here where she ended last year,” said Deutsch. “Typically, in gymnastics if you don’t have a chance to train throughout the summer, you have to rebuild. She worked really hard over the summer between conditioning and training. Her confidence has grown. It’s a combination of a lot of things coming together and it’s great to see it come together at the first meet.”
A solid team score in the 130s is encouraging because the coaching staff can point to areas where the Golden Eagles can improve.
“I’m always happy to hit 130 or higher. To be able to hit 132, only a few points away from a school record, I think is very encouraging for the first meet,” said Deutsch. “There are areas where we can improve. We had way too many falls on the beam. We had missed connections. We need to stick routines and connections. We had a lot of errors and still hit 132.”
The Aberdeen Central gymnastics team competes in back-to-back home events by hosting the annual Hub City Invitational on Dec. 8 beginning at noon in Golden Eagles Arena.
“We use this first meet with Jamestown to see where we’re at and to get ready for the Hub City Invite,” said Deutsch. “This is a great confidence booster for the girls. We are starting out strong and seeing where we can build from there.”
Team Points: Jamestown (N.D.) 138.35, Aberdeen Central 132.75, Warner Inc.
Balance Beam: 1, Alex Lind, Jamestown, 37.45; 2, Jenna Stillwell, Jamestown, 9.00; 3, Kaiann Arellano, Jamestown, 8.90; 4, Erin Hillerud, Jamestown, 8.00; 5, Abbie Conlon, Jamestown, 7.95.
Vault: 1, Lind, 9.40; 2, Taylor Schweitzer, Aberdeen, 9.05; 3, Alexis Clark, Aberdeen, 9.00; 4 (tie), Hillerud, 8.60; 4 (tie), Hannah Langbehn, Aberdeen, 8.60.
Uneven Bars: 1, Lind, 9.30; 2, Hillerud, 8.35; 3, Clark, 8.30; 4, Tessa Kimbler, Aberdeen, 8.15; 5, Arellano, 8.10.