The Tomah High School gymnastics team finished last but filled its roster with eager and committed gymnasts at a Mississippi Valley Conference meet hosted by Onalaska Feb. 8.
The Timberwolves nearly matched the score when it hosted the MVC Feb. 5, but Sparta got a key gymnast back from injury and passed Tomah in the team standings.
Tomah coach Karen Brown was pleased that she had gymnasts ready to fill 36 of the 40 available spots on varsity and junior varsity.
“We have just 13 girls, and they were able to fill most of these spots getting experience and competition time,” Brown said. “It has been hard these past two weeks with the weather and two meets and not much practice time in the gym.”
Brown said Anna Jackson had an excellent meet. She produced Tomah’s top score on vault (7.6) and floor exercise (7.25).
“This was only her third meet competing vault and first time on varsity vault,” Brown said. “Anna has very clean routines, meaning very little execution deductions.”
Freshman Amelia Hammer led the Timberwolves on the uneven parallel bars with a 5.45.
“Amelia has worked her way up from junior varsity on bars and vault,” Brown said. “She has improved a great deal over the season.”
Hannah Hogan posted Tomah’s top all-round score (25.975) and led the Timberwolves on the balance beam (7.1). She stuck her beam routine (no falls), along with varsity teammate Alyssa Haskamp and junior varsity performer Briana Bowen.
“We went from lots of falls Tuesday to just five on varsity and four on jayvee,” Brown said. “It was a big improvement, even though we competed on beam first tonight.”
Azalea Roberts was close behind Hogan in the all-around at 25.325.
Tomah will likely finish fifth in the MVC standings after finishing third last season. Onalaska bolstered its roster this season thanks to a co-op with Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, and Sparta got an infusion of talent from club gymnastics.
“It’s hard for us to compete against the club gymnasts that practice all year when my girls do gymnastics only four months out of the year,” Brown said. “Our goal is to compete in as many events as we can and keep improving and doing our best.”
Team scores: Onalaska/G-E-T 133, Holmen 130.5, La Crosse Central/La Crosse Logan 121.275, Sparta 119.65, Tomah 104.275.
Tomah’s junior varsity squad placed third.
“The biggest highlight was Briana Bowen hitting her bar routine and being our top finisher for jayvee bars,” Brown said. “Briana had a rough meet here in December but has really been working hard to improve her skills and connect them better. She did a really nice routine; I was very proud of her.”
Other top Tomah junior varsity finishers were Lily Stewart on vault and Ashley Nelson on beam and floor.
The final MVC meet is Thursday, Feb. 14 followed by WIAA Division 2 Sectional competition at West Salem Saturday, Feb. 23 starting at 11 a.m.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at email@example.com.