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Gymnastics: Wingers finally come home

Red Wing's Mackenzie Irwin launches into the vault during the Wingers' home meet on Thursday. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)

There are five seniors on Red Wing's gymnastics roster, including two that were in the varsity rotation during Thursday's home meet against Austin. The Packers, ranked fourth in Class 1A, were too powerful for the Wingers, winning the dual 145.15-132.2.

But the loss will likely soon be forgotten as it was the first time in five years that Red Wing was able to host a home meet in its own building after TNT Gymnastics moved this past year. It was a different feel for the Wingers, who are used to bus rides and others' equipment. Most of all, it was stressful for the gymnasts as the building was full of not just parents and friends, but a large group of fellow students as well.

“Honestly, I didn't know if I had to cry or drink a cup of coffee before this,” said senior Amanda DeWall. “It was the most nerve-wracking meet I've ever competed in. I didn't really compete in the one last year at the high school, I was just in bars in that. But, being in all-around this year, I was shaking. You just have to get over it. But before that first event? Oh, jeez.”

“I was constantly nervous, more that I ever have been,” said Mackenzie Irwin, the other senior in the lineup. “It was the atmosphere, and competing on your own equipment, we just haven't had that in so long. In the future, I'm really excited that we get to have a home gym, especially for Kyley (Lindholm) at TNT.”

That the night was Senior Night also added to the memory-making evening. It's something the rest of the rotation, including junior Paige Patterson, and two freshmen, Breck Bergin and Carolyn Hanson, can look forward to as the program aims to grow.

“The energy tonight was fabulous,” said co-head coach Megan Latch. “It was exciting, and we need to continue to build the culture of gymnastics back up in Red Wing. We've been on the road, and it's been hard to be a fan. But being home again, it's encouraging to see people reward the girls for their hard work.”

The results of the meet, individually, were solid for a team that is developing depth. Patterson placed third on the vault, scoring a 9.1, the top Winger place of the night. Bergin was fourth on the floor exercise with a 9.1, and in the all-around with a 34.1. DeWall also picked up a fourth-place finish with a 8.175 on the parallel uneven bars. Packer Maddie Mullenbach placed first in the vault, beam and floor to take the all-around title with a 38.325

“It was pretty cool,” De Wall said. “It was nerve-wracking because we didn't have to go anywhere, we had to set up everything, we had to clean everything, we had to move 900, heavy mats. A lot of us did really well, but we were nervous at first because of all the people here. It seemed unnatural because we're always somewhere else.”

That was true in the past. But now Red Wing will get to try something else: making its new house feel like home. The Wingers will be back at TNT on Thursday to host Winona.

Saturday

On Saturday, the gymnasts went to Farmington and placed second of nine teams with a season-high score of 132.25. Of note, the meet also served as a Big Nine Conference makeup against Faribault, which was also in attendance. The Falcons scored a 107.85, giving the Wingers a league victory.

In the vault, Patterson placed fourth with a 9.0, and Bergin was fifth with an 8.9. Hanson took fourth on the beam with a personal best 8.55, and Bergin hit a new personal mark with a third-place 9.1 on the floor. Hanson finished fifth in the all-around with a 33.15.

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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