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Red Wing's Irina Anderson focuses before her dash to the vault during Saturday's state gymnastics championship meet at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion. Anderson, who was the first Winger at state in five years, finished in 24th place. (Submitted photo)

State Gymnastics: Red Wing's Anderson 24th in vault

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Irina Anderson’s state gymnastics meet started out with a vault she knows well, a handspring full. Anderson scored a 9.05 on her first attempt, placing her 21st after the first round.

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But on the second attempt, Anderson went for something different, something new: a handspring one-and-a-half. Everything went well until the Red Wing junior hit the landing pad, where she would fall. That second vault came with a score of 8.65, which, combined with the first vault, would place Anderson 24th in the Class A field.

“I was nervous, (it) was scary,” Anderson said after her day ended with just the one rotation. “But it was fun just standing over there talking to the other teams.”

Those nerves, most likely a product of a first-time state tournament appearance, were obvious from the beginning.

“She (was) nervous all morning,” Wingers co-head coach Lisa Hanson said. “She (had) kind of a blessing and a curse of just doing one event, (but) it’s the first event … It’s a hard thing to do to come clean out, she was cold. There wasn’t a warm up before vault. So she kind of went into that kind of cold compared to what she normally would have done. But she did an excellent first vault.”

After that initial launch, Anderson settled down, even if the end result wasn’t what was hoped for.

“After the first vault, it was pretty easy,” Anderson said.

Easy is certainly not the word to describe Anderson’s season, or Red Wing’s year for that matter. Uncertainty around a spring foot surgery had Anderson on the periphery of the lineup. Unknowns about a place to put the equipment had Hanson wondering if there would be a season for Anderson and the Wingers to participate in.

Only part of that can be remedied for next year.

“I guess to try harder, have more fun with it and not be so nervous with it,” Anderson said about what she learned from her first state meet.

When the topic turned to the future of the program, and whether Anderson would have a chance to come back to the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion as a senior, Hanson seemed concerned, but optimistic.

“If you could take three levels, worst-case scenario is TNT (Gymnastics) isn’t able to make it, and so we have no home again,” Hanson said. “It’s a business, and it needs to make money, so that would be worst-case scenario. The mid-option is status quo. We would have no home meets and have the struggle of being on top of each other while we practice. But, best-case scenario, which (TNT owner) Kyley (Lindholm) is in favor of as well, is finding a larger location in town where Kyley can move her business (and) TNT will flourish and we will flourish, and be able to have some home meets.”

Hanson said there have been talks about fundraising, and creating a pool of money to possibly find a building to rent.

With any luck, the Wingers will have a home when the 2014-15 season rolls around. Whether or not Red Wing hosts a meet next winter, the team has gotten used to the road. And one of them now knows the directions to the best “away” meet of the year.

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Kyle Stevens
Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at kstevens@republican-eagle.com, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
(651) 301-7879
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