First-year coach Taylor Lueck joined the La Crescent High School gymnastics program when the team’s identity struck a close resemblance to her own. A lifelong gymnast with a few years of youth coaching under her belt, the 23-year old Lueck became the third Lancer gymnastics coach in the last three years.
Lueck said she learned about the gymnastics position from her uncle Ryan Niemeier, who’s in his first season as coach of the La Crescent girls basketball team. After Lueck expressed some hesitation at first, Niemeier suggested she meet with La Crescent’s athletic director Josh Mallicoat, also in his first year at the school.
“He was really nice about just making sure I felt good about it,” said Lueck about meeting with Mallicoat. “He made sure I had all my questions answered, and that he would help me with whatever I needed to get the season started.”
Lueck begins her high school coaching tenure after coaching Pre-Team with Performance Elite Gymnastics in French Island. Lueck currently works in La Crescent, at the Peli Preschool and Family Center in the toddler room. Lueck said she ultimately got into coaching after a gymnastics career that began at the age of six.
After losing three seniors to graduation, Lueck takes over a La Crescent program with contrasting class sizes and no senior class, with the oldest gymnasts being sophomores. But Lueck said the team’s situation that she inherited is a workable one, and one perk to having a young roster is knowing she doesn’t have to worry about losing any of them soon.
To better acclimate herself with the skills Lancer gymnasts have in their repertoire, Lueck had the girls write down individual goals for each event they compete in on the first day of practice.
Despite the inconsistencies in oversight, all of the young returning Lancer gymnasts this season come with their own pool of experience.
“We’ve gone through these (coaching) transitions before,” said sophomore gymnast Alana Anderson. “Every year we’ve had somebody new.”
Accustomed to shifting coaches, the bond between La Crescent gymnasts has grown stronger with each season
“I guess because all of us are really close, it’s just fun to be together,” said sophomore Alissa Peterson. “For some of us, this is our fourth year, and it’s nice to have that experience coming up in the program. We’re not the oldest team but it’s not like we’re new, either.”