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Gymnastics Red Wing begins a youth movement

Red Wing's Chloe McGrath eyes the vault during the Wingers' meet against Owatonna on Friday at TNT Gymnastics. Kyle Stevens / RiverTowns Multimedia1 / 2
Red Wing's Carolyn Hanson competes in the parallel uneven bars on Friday during the Wingers' meet with Owatonna at TNT Gymnastics. Kyle Stevens / RiverTowns Multimedia2 / 2

A quick glance at Red Wing's gymnastics roster does a pretty good job explaining what kind of season this will be for the Wingers. There are nine eighth-graders, three freshmen and a handful of sophomores. And there are more seventh-graders (two) than there are juniors and seniors combined (zero).

"There are a lot of brand-new girls," said head coach Lisa Hanson, who takes over full duties with the departure of co-head coach Megan Latch. "The TNT center has a good group of fifth- and sixth-graders that will be coming up as well. Having this center here really helps because this year we're building, and then next year hopefully stronger and then in three or four years, we can (score in) the 140s."

There is certainly good talent returning as the varsity has two-year or three-year members, and they all have new skills, which helped the team score higher than expected in the opening meet in Byron last weekend.

Carolyn Hanson and Breck Bergin, along with Allison Urban, Angel Griggs and Chloe McGrath made up the all-sophomore lineup for the Wingers' home opener on Friday against Owatonna. That group will be the core going forward as Hanson works on building a full JV lineup by January.

In addition to all the work with the gymnasts is the expanded role Hanson has without a co-head coach. Stepping in to help as assistants are Carlie Sandstrom and Dawn Austin.

"I have two great assistants," Hanson said. "Carlie is an alumni, a great gymnast and a really good coach. And Dawn came out of retirement, and has coached 25-30 years in some capacity. They both come with different skills than what we had, so know we're figuring each other out and how we mesh together."

The early returns inside TNT and from practice has been good.

"The girls' attitudes are so good, and everyone is so eager," Hanson said.

Fans can get another look at the team on Friday, Dec. 15, as Red Wing will host Faribault. The Wingers' final home meet will be Friday, Feb. 2, and will also be a glimpse into the future of the program.

"That will be Parents' Night and pack the Gym Night and hopefully will be where we can highlight a full JV team and a strong varsity," Hanson said.

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, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.

(651) 301-7879