Twelve gymnastics teams will tumble into Golden Eagles Arena on Saturday.
Aberdeen Central will host its annual Hub City Invitational beginning at noon. Nine of the top 10 teams from last year’s State AA Meet will compete along with two Class A teams and an individual gymnast from Warner.
The participating teams are Aberdeen Central, Britton-Hecla, Brookings, Huron, Sioux Falls Lincoln, Mitchell, Milbank, Sioux Falls O’Gorman, Pierre, Sioux Falls Roosevelt, Warner, Sioux Falls Washington and Watertown. Mitchell finished second at the invite last season and Watertown won the big meet.
The meet will utilize about 50 workers on Saturday and that does not include the number of helpers who will move the gymnastic apparatus from the gymnastics center and auxiliary center to the arena Friday night.
“It’s almost like a state meet in a way,” said Aberdeen gymnastics coach Jennifer Deutsch. “We’ll see a lot of different judges at the meet.”
The judges will be Bobby Fossum, Kelli Helms, Kelli Hanson, Kelsi Heer, Michelle Johnson, Shavonne Mitchell, Lisa Schroeder, Michelle Benike and Rebecca Uhrig.
Aberdeen Central is coming off a strong showing at a home dual meet with Jamestown last week. One of the highlights was Alexis Clark’s floor exercise routine. The junior set a new school record on the floor with a 9.30. She broke Adrienne Skaggs’ record of 9.283 set in 2009. Clark is hoping to debut a new skill in her vault routine at the Hub City Invitational.
If fans see an Aberdeen gymnast performing a giant swing on the uneven bars, it is probably sophomore Aimee Padgett.
“It’s a tough skill. It takes about two years to perfect that skill. You have to have a hand stand before you can do the giants,” said Deutsch. “Last year, Aimee did them, but just wasn’t as consistent as she is this year. She’s looking much stronger with the flow of her routine. Now, we just need to get a couple more requirements in there. We have two or three other gymnasts working on getting to giants.”
The Golden Eagles have been working on several elements this week in practice.
Floor exercise: “Our floor looks strong so we’ll double check to make sure the connections are there,” said Deutsch.
Balance beam: “We need to do a better job of staying on the beam.”
Uneven bars: “We have a couple of new skills that are close to being ready. We’ll work on getting them into the routine.”
Vault: “We’ll work on landings a little more. We’re very pleased with where we’re starting this year.”
Sports writer Deb Smith
Class B teams to clash at Aberdeen arena
A pair of boys’ and girls’ basketball teams are preparing to hold their own doubleheader at the Aberdeen Civic Arena this season.
Herreid-Selby Area and Summit will participate in a twinbill at the legendary facility on Jan. 29.
“We needed a game,” said Summit girls’ coach Mark Amdahl, “and our boys needed a game.”