Realistically, the Eden Prairie High School gymnastics team was going to finish either fifth or sixth at Friday’s Class AA state gymnastics meet.
“We finished fifth,” said Eden Prairie coach Kelley West, “which is really good.”
Eden Prairie finished in fifth-place, counting 144.675 team points. Sixth-place Maple Grove counted 144.625 points.
In the battle for first place, Lakeville North upset defending champion Stillwater 149.350 – 148.625. Owatonna finished third (147.575), East Ridge fourth (146.100).
When asked for a meet highlight, West talked about her beam team.
“We had the third-best beam score of the meet,” she said. “That put us ahead of Stillwater and Owatonna.”
Eden Prairie’s top-four beam gymnasts (Anna Pecci, Laura Devine, Olivia Seigler and Kenzi Kluge) combined to count a 36.325.
Eden Prairie (Carolyn Tarpey, Winnie Wallace, Kluge and Seigler) would also count 36.90 on vault.
“It was probably better than our section performance,” said West. “Our score might have been a little lower, but the scoring at a state meet is different (read tougher). They use four judges and they don’t miss a thing.”
Eden Prairie counted 35.375 (Seigler, Devine, Kluge and Sophia Hoang) on uneven bars and 36.075 (Wallace, Seigler, Devine and Kluge) on floor.
In hindsight, West said the experience was a good end to the team season.
Eden Prairie counted its two biggest scores of the season at its two biggest meets of the season, last week’s section meet and this week’s state meet.
On Saturday, six Eden Prairie gymnasts (Tarpey, Sophia Schwob, Hoang, Devine, Seigler and Kluge) competed in the Class AA individual competition.
“There are a lot of amazing gymnasts in that competition,” said West, “We didn’t get any top 10s, but we did well, didn’t get hurt and had a lot of fun.”
A highlight and low light occurred at the same time. Going into the bars competition with her team’s best bar routine, Hoang struggled and fell.
“She got back on and still finished with a double back dismount,” said West. “That showed how mature she is, and she’s only an eighth grader.”
Kluge would experience a similar situation on beam. After adding more difficulty to her state routine, she, too, fell. Kluge got back on beam, finished her routine and then nailed her dismount.
Seigler finished with Eden Prairie’s best floor (9.3875) and vault (9.3125) scores, finishing 27th and 35th, respectively. Kluge finished with her team’s best bars score (9.375), placing 23rd overall. Devine counted the Eagles’ best beam finish (8.6125), placing 42nd overall.