This Westby Area High School gymnastics program was light on numbers, but the addition of incoming freshmen students and three foreign exchange students entering the program put the team in double digits at 11.
Head Coach Kara Timmel is entering her third year at the helm and will be assisted by Tiffany Jothen, a former Westby gymnast. Together the duo is hopeful the returning gymnasts stay focused on improving, while the new girls just entering the program find the right mix of apparatus where they can shine.
“I believe our returning gymnasts will set a tone of hard work and dedication while also developing our bond and a sense of team,” Timmel said.
The only Westby gymnast to graduate in 2016 was the team captain, Riley See. This year’s team includes; seniors, Savannah Kenyon and Emily Olson; junior, Bekah Dwyer; sophomore, Kaydan Jothen and incoming freshman, Maggie Grethel, Nicole Klum, Emma Nelson and Teagan Rooney. The trio of foreign exchange students are all sophomores, Isabella Zacho, Valeria Nussbaumer, and Angie Nam.
“Every year we hope to grow stronger and develop strong leaders in our program,” Timmel said.
Dwyer has competed varsity since she was a freshman and Timmel thinks she will only get better with each meet. Olson and Kenyon also spent time competing at the varsity level and will grow stronger as the season progresses.
For Timmel and Jothen the team’s biggest challenge is doing the most with the time and resources they have.
“We are very grateful to have received some new equipment over the past two years, but it is always a challenge to make sure every person is getting effective practice time on every event,” Timmel said.
The Norse will face some tough competition in the upcoming season and Timmel said it’s hard to say who the top contenders will be.
“I believe if we make the most out of our time in the gym and work hard every day, we have good things in our future. Regardless of how we place at meets, I want the girls to be proud of what they have done,” Timmel said.
Westby’s first competition will be on Saturday, Dec. 16 at Tomah. The Norse will host the Coulee Conference meet on Feb. 15.