Gymnastics season preview: More specific rules could alter scoringThe high school gymnastics rule book underwent a “huge change,” according to Mayer, before the season and now will be in accordance with USA Gymnastics regulations. All four events now have six requirements instead of seven.
By: Ryan Nilsson, The Republican Eagle
2009-10 recap: In a season marred by injuries, the Wingers finished last at both the Missota Conference and the Section 1A meets. Red Wing scored a 122.65 at the five-team conference meet and a 123.625 at the nine-team section meet.
Senior Kirsten Bluhm concluded her career by placing 14th on the vault at sections. She earned the Wingers’ highest individual placing.
Kassidy Coplan: Coplan was Red Wing’s top performer in the all-around competition at the 2010 section meet as an eighth-grader, scoring a 31.675. She also posted the Wingers’ top score in the uneven bars (7.8), balance beam (7.5) and floor exercise (8.025) at the same meet.
“Kassidy seems to be like real confident in what she did last year,” Wingers coach Beth Mayer said. “She doesn’t look nervous when she’s out there practicing it right now. ... She takes care of business. She does what she has to do - gets her reps in so that she’ll be ready to go to the best of her ability for the first meet.”
Coplan and fellow freshman Carlie Sandstrom both dance well and are elegant, according to Mayer. That should help them in the floor exercise and on the balance beam.
The story lines
Rule changes: The high school gymnastics rule book underwent a “huge change,” according to Mayer, before the season and now will be in accordance with USA Gymnastics regulations. All four events now have six requirements instead of seven.
For example on the balance beam, there’s a new requirement that gymnasts must tumble in two different directions on the beam not including the dismount. Mayer said the rules are also more specific: It used to be that every extra step resulted in a .1 deduction, but now if the step is 3 feet or longer it’s a .2 deduction.
“It’s gonna affect us a lot,” Red Wing senior Allison Krebsbach said. “It’s a lot more strict. They’re analyzing everything so much. ... They’re expecting everybody to do giants now. Before it was just like kips and stuff. Now it’s so much higher skill. It’s Olympic skills they’re expecting us to do.”
Instead of trying to incorporate every requirement into a routine and not doing them well, Mayer said Red Wing gymnasts will include as many requirements as they can perform comfortably. She said that is the best approach given that judges will be placing more emphasis on execution this year.
“The first thing (Red Wing gymnasts) said was, ‘Does this mean were going to get lower scores this year?’” Mayer said. “Well, possibly. It’s gonna take the judges a little bit of time to be comfortable with the rule changes.”
Mayer said the changes will help judges to distinguish between competitors at the state meet.
Injuries: “In the years that I’ve coached I’ve never seen some of the injuries that we had last year,” said Mayer, who is entering her 27th year as a coach in Red Wing. “I’ve never had that many at one time.”
To help prevent another rash of injuries this season, Mayer said there’s been more interaction between the athletic trainers and the gymnasts and that the trainers have helped with preventative measures.
Mayer also said extensive injuries can be avoided if the gymnasts don’t try and conceal ailments.
“A lot of us just wanted to compete and not like have injuries so we just like blew it off until they got really bad,” said Sandstrom, who had spine, ankle and hip flexor injuries last season. “Because we can’t really complain over every little ache and pain in gymnastics because everything kind of hurts.”
Offseason: After last season’s section meet Mayer said year-round conditioning is vital because it prevents the three weeks of practice leading up the season-opening meet from being a cram session.
For several reasons — injuries, involvement in other activities and jobs — the offseason conditioning didn’t materialize as Mayer had hoped.
“To accommodate the fact that I don’t think they were as well conditioned as they should be when they started, I went much more low key at the start,” Mayer said. “I’m working into things much more gradually than I have ever done in all the years to ease them into getting their body back into shape to do these things.”