Prior Lake Gymnastics

Prior Lake and Shakopee will not be able to enter into a co-op gymnastics team due to a misunderstanding of Minnesota State High School League guidelines.

The Shakopee School Board unanimously approved the pursuit of a co-op gymnastics team with Prior Lake High School at the Sept. 23 school board meeting.

Athletic Director Matt Hanson, who proposed the idea, said three families approached him this summer to ask about gymnastics programs in Shakopee, which currently does not offer a program through the school.

Hanson said since adding a gymnastics program to the district would be a significant financial cost, and there aren’t enough gymnasts in Shakopee to create a team even if the district wanted to, the next-best option would be to enter into a co-op.

“This is an opportunity to give (student gymnasts) an opportunity without adding a huge financial burden to the district.”

If Prior Lake accepts Shakopee High School’s request, Shakopee gymnasts will need to provide their own transportation to and from Prior Lake High School. The cost to the district, Hanson said, would be somewhere around $1,000 per athlete. The students would pay the normal activity fee, which would account for a small portion of that chunk.

Prior Lake currently runs a full varsity and junior varsity gymnastics squad.

“They’re doing us a favor by considering this,” Hanson said. “They could just say no.”

Hanson cautioned that if Shakopee gets too many gymnast participants, or the Prior Lake/Shakopee team became “too good,” other section schools could ask that Shakopee and Prior Lake disband.

“This is an uphill battle,” Hanson said. “I still feel like it’s worth fighting for.”

The gymnastics season starts Nov. 11 with the first week of practice. The Lakers’ first competition is their own invitational Dec. 7 at Twin Oaks Middle School starting at noon.

Teams in the field include Chanhassen, Eden Prairie, Lakeville South, Minnetonka, New Prague, Northfield and Rosemount.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.

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