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In-season qualifying scores lowered for 2 gymnastics events

More Class AA and A gymnasts are likely to pre-qualify individually for the state gymnastics meet next year.

Last week in Pierre, the South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors passed an item, which lowered the in-season qualifying standard on uneven bars and balance beam in both classes.

Last year in Class AA, less than five competitors pre-qualified on bars and beam. The same went with Class A.

Chamberlain head coach Sherri Knippling, who proposed the change to the board, said her team qualified very few individuals on those two events.

"Hopefully with the change, we will be able to pre-qualify at least 10 gymnasts, and that would be consistent with qualifying numbers for vault and floor," she said.

The Class AA mark moves from a 9.0 to an 8.8, while the Class A mark decreased from an 8.5 to an 8.3. In order for gymnasts to pre-qualify, they must hit the mark three times during the regular season. For those who don't pre-qualify, gymnasts can still qualify to compete at the individual competition at state qualifier meets -- such as the Eastern South Dakota Conference Meet for the Mitchell Kernels or the team competition at the state meet for Class A teams.

"This past year, the rules changed and made it a lot tougher for kids to qualify on bars and beam," Mitchell head coach Audra Rew said. "If a kid scores a 9.2 twice but doesn't get another score at 9.0, that person doesn't go and those kids need to be at state.

"It shouldn't be that difficult for our top kids to do. If it's that hard, it defeats the purpose of a in-season qualifier because everyone has to qualify later down the road at one meet."

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.