Last spring, section reclassification moved the Eden Prairie High School gymnastics team from Section 6AA to Section 2AA.
For Eden Prairie, last year’s Section 6AA champion, this wasn’t a good move.
Section 2AA, after all, is home to the defending state champion Lakeville North Panthers.
Lakeville North entered the 2019-20 season as the team to beat.
On Friday, the Panthers would host the Section 2AA finals meet.
“There’ was no way anyone was beating Lakeville,” said Eden Prairie coach Megan Kooman.
Kooman was correct, as the Panthers won with a meet-best 150.175.
That said, there was a real race for second place.
“Second-place was close, and we were right there,” said Kooman. “We definitely have room for improvement, but we’re happy with how it ended.”
New Prague placed second with a team score of 141.325. Waconia finished third with a 139.300, Eden Prairie placed fourth (138.975), Lakeville South fifth (138.700) and Chaska sixth (138.600). Prior Lake (136.825) and Bloomington Jefferson (133.375) finished seven and eight.
Note: Eden Prairie was without Kenzie Kluge, Liv Seigler and Kate Derosier.
“Kenzi has been our most consistent gymnast,” said Kooman. “Liv has been out all season and Kate, who competes varsity bars, got hurt a couple weeks ago.”
Eden Prairie’s vault performance was the highlight of the meet.
“Our vault score finished just three tenths behind Lakeville’s,” said Kooman, “and that’s without Kenzie and Liv.”
Lakeville North counted a meet-best 37.625 on vault, Eden Prairie 37.325.
Winnie Wallace’s vault tied for the meet’s second highest score (9.550).
As such, she qualifies for the state meet.
Sophia Hoang’s vault (9.300) finished 10th.
One rotation later, Hoang would earn a return trip to the state meet by placing second on the uneven bars. Hoang counted a score of 9.450.
“She has a double back dismount that she’ll use at state,” said Kooman. “She played it safe at sections, thinking she could make it without throwing it.”
Wallace counted Eden Prairie’s only other top-10 score, placing eighth on beam (8.675).
Wallace and Hoang would both place in the all-around competition.
Wallace finished eighth, counting a score of 35.600. Hoang finished ninth, counting 35.325.
Lakeville North’s gymnasts placed one (37.950), two (37.225), three (36.825) and four (36.675).
After a 10-year absence, this year’s state gymnastics meet returns to Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul. A conflict with a University of Minnesota wrestling meet forced the change.
The Class AA individual and all-around championship meet is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m.