BROOKINGS-The Parkston/Ethan/Hanson gymnastics team raised the bar again on Friday.
The PEH gymnastics team claimed second in Class A state gymnastics meet at the Swiftel Center. In just its fifth season of existence, PEH slotted behind Class A powerhouse Deuel, which won the state title with 143.625 points. Parkston/Ethan/Hanson racked up 132.950 points.
The second-place finish was a step forward from the third-place finish in 2018. Coach Bridget Muntefering said capturing second place was the goal for this season's team.
In those terms, mission accomplished on Friday.
"It was awesome to come out of it with matching our goal," Muntefering said. "The girls worked hard. They focused on the little things in practice and they knew they had to hit."
Muntefering knew Deuel was the clear-cut favorite to win its fifth Class A crown. The Cardinals did just that, but Muntefering also figured a logjam of teams would be fighting for second place.
PEH, which entered the day seeded fourth, just edged Estelline/Hendricks (132.825) and Madison (131.950) for the best finish in program history.
"It's really great," lone PEH senior McKenzie Prunty said. "We've come a long way and we have the experience from when we were younger. So that helped us just improve over the years. It's my senior year, and it's we where we want to be and we are happy to be second place."
Muntefering said emphasizing the small details are what propelled PEH to the second-place spot.
"We had a two-week break between our last meet and regions and so we really spent those two weeks hitting the gym hard and really focusing on those tiny little differences in every event," Muntefering said. "It wasn't just one thing."
Prunty said everything came together for the team at the right time and it culminated at state.
"We were just more solid," Prunty said. "We had more experience and some more younger kids that also helped back us up in case we mess up and so that helped. I just think more consistency this year."
And PEH will look to carry its consistency into next season after the historic finish on Friday.
"We weren't obviously the biggest and strongest team that came in five years ago," Muntefering said. "But we are coming out of this year with a senior and 14 girls. We have a full JV, full varsity and we are coming out of it with second-place team finish. That's pretty cool."
NOTES: Gymnastics judge Lisa Schroeder, of Alexandria, received the judges leadership award. Schroeder has been officiating for 20 seasons.