Cubs, Red Raiders among Class A gymnastics fieldAfter battling weeks of illness, the Chamberlain gymnastics team is ready to give everything it has in its final meet of the season.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
After battling weeks of illness, the Chamberlain gymnastics team is ready to give everything it has in its final meet of the season.
“We’ve had several different girls who’ve been fighting sickness,” Chamberlain head coach Sherri Knippling said. “We’ve worked hard this week and gave it all we had, and we’re going into state with no regrets. We have to trust the hard work that we’ve done and hope for the best.”
The Cubs are set to compete in the state gymnastics meet, which begins at 11 a.m. mountain time today at Rapid City Stevens High School. In this year’s state tournament, the Class AA and Class A teams compete simultaneously. Four judges are at each event, with two judging the AA routines and two judging the A routines. Class AA and A gymnasts will compete one after the other to keep the meet constantly moving.
“I think it’s going to be fairer with all of the teams having the same judges at the same time,” Knippling said. “I think the judges are going to like it better because they aren’t going to feel pressure to get scores out.”
In past years, there is about one minute in between each routine. But with this system, judges will have extra time to score a routine and the gymnasts will know exactly when they compete.
Going into the meet, the reigning Class A champion Deuel is the heavy team favorite. Deuel’s dynamic duo of sophomore Meaghan Sievers and senior Sam Wiekamp swept last year’s state meet, with Sievers winning the all-around.
Chamberlain took third last year behind Deuel and Madison and has its sights set at third once again this year.
“Third is up for grabs,” Knippling said, adding that Deuel and Madison will most likely take the one and two spots. “Everybody has at least two really strong all-arounders, so it’s going to come down to who’s got the best third and fourth place competitors.”
Chamberlain’s Vanzi Knippling, Marilyn Nasomwat and Shantel Bairey have prequalified in the all-around and Amber Felicia prequalified on vault for the individual competition — which is 4:30 p.m. mountain time Saturday. To prequalify for the individual meet, gymnasts had to score a 31 in the all-around and an 8.5 on an event in three meets this season.
Class AA gymnasts can also qualify today as the top half of each event will advance to Saturday’s competition.
Nasomwat was the Cubs’ highest finisher in the all-around last year with a ninth-place finish, while Vanzi Knippling took 14th in the all-around. Wagner was led by Hannah Flemming, who finished 20th in the all-around at last year’s state meet.
“I told the girls to go compete because you love it — not to qualify,” Sherri Knippling said. “If they do that then they’ll be successful.”
Chamberlain, which rotates with Class AA’s Brookings, begins the meet on balance beam, while Wagner, which rotates with Class AA’s Mitchell, begins the team competition on vault.