Chamberlain expects to be in close Class A state gymnastics title race
Expect a close showdown for the Class A state team gymnastics title on Friday night, with the Chamberlain Cubs in the mix.
ABERDEEN — Expect a close showdown for the Class A state team gymnastics title on Friday night, with the Chamberlain Cubs in the mix.
Of the eight teams to qualify for the state meet, the top-five qualifying scores were separated by 1.825 points from top scorer Madison and fifth-seed Chamberlain. The Class A state team competition will take place at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Aberdeen Central High School.
The Bulldogs, who have won more state championships in South Dakota gymnastics history than anyone, earned the top-seed by posting a score of 136.950 at the Region 1A meet. It was Madison’s best team score of the season by more than three full points. Hot Springs was the Region 2A champion with a score of 135.650 and is seeded third behind Estelline/Hendricks (136.075), Deuel in fourth (135.400) and Chamberlain fifth (135.125).
Chamberlain’s chances for a state team title, something the school has never done, would be bolstered if senior Allison Hough is able to compete, according to coach Sherri Knippling. Hough, who has missed meets since an ankle injury in late January, has Class A’s eighth-best all-around score of the season (35.050) and alongside junior Amelia Jones and freshman Kylah Biggins — who rank fourth and fifth in top all-around scores this year — the Cubs are contenders when healthy. Averaging the top-four scores from regular-season meets, Chamberlain was No. 1 on average with 135.531 points, followed by Estelline/Hendricks (135.444), Hot Springs (135.163), Madison (133.600) and Deuel (131.400).
The Class A team championship has not been won by a school other than Madison or Deuel since Vermillion in 1994. Since then, Madison has won 21 times and Deuel has won seven times, including four straight from 2018-2021 before Madison bested the Cardinals by six-tenths of a point in 2022 at the Corn Palace.
Both Parkston/Ethan/Hanson/Mount Vernon and Wagner/Bon Homme are in the Class A state team field, as well. Both teams are coming off season-best scoring efforts in the region meet, with PEHMV scoring 130.825 points and Wagner checking in with 127.425 points, securing the final two spots into the eight-team state meet field.
In the individual meet on Saturday, Estelline/Hendricks' Sadie Johnson and Deuel's MaKia Moe are expected to be the top contenders for the Class A all-around title, each with season-best scores of 37.000. Wagner/Bon Homme's Alexys Rueb had a top-four vault score this season, and as did London Sudbeck of PEHMV on beam. Amelia Jones had the second-best beam score with a 9.500, and Kylah Biggins scored in the top-five during the season on uneven bars and floor exercise.