Tanagers place second at state gymnastics tourney by Jim Prosser The Vermillion Tanagers traveled to Huron to compete in the 2002 S.D. Class A State Gymnastics tournament this past weekend and returned home runners-up to champion Madison.
The tournaments format changed from a one-day event to a two-day meet.
Friday�s competition was to crown the 2002 team champion, while Saturday was a day to vie for individual honors. Friday�s team competition turned out to be an exciting day for the Vermillion Tanagers. The Tanagers went into the state meet ranked eight out of a possible nine teams.
�I knew this meet was going to be a very close race for second place and I really thought the Tanager gymnasts were up to the challenge,� said coach Mark Upward.
Madison proved again to be the best team in the Class �A� ranks as they won their eighth straight title.
The nine teams were split up into four rotation groups that switched from event to event. The first rotation had Vermillion, Madison and Miller on vault, while Milbank and Hot Springs were on bars, Stanley County and Britton on beam and Clark and Chamberlain were on floor exercise.
After the first rotation, Vermillion was in first place with Madison and Miller close behind. The second rotation saw Madison move into first place while Miller moved to second with Vermillion in third, trailing Miller by .207 points. The third rotation saw no movement among the top three teams. The final rotation of the day saw more movement as Vermillion moved to second with Stanley County surging from sixth to third and Hot Springs sliding into the fourth spot.
�We knew it was so close going into the final rotation that any one of three or four teams could still get second,� said coach Upward. �The girls had given their all for three rotations; I was hoping that we could come through on the floor exercise.
Vermillion had several girls place in the top 20 on each event, thus getting a medal at the state meet. On the vault, Vermillion�s Sarah Christopherson placed 15th, while Katie Conners tied for 19th place. Meganne Hovden finished 21st, just out of medal contention.
�Meganne had a perfect entry for her handspring/full for her second vault, but her hand slipped and she slid off the horse,� said Upward. �Without the hand slip, I�m sure Meganne gets a medal.�
Gymnasts placing on the uneven bars were Christopherson (14th) and Ariel Hofman(17th). Connors finished out of the medals, but scored well enough for 32nd on the bars.
On balance beam, the tanagers had Hofman place fourth, Christopherson sixth and Sarah Gregg 18th.
The floor exercise event saw two Tanagers get medals. Christopherson placed eighth and Hofman placed 10th. Katie Conners finished just .07 out of medal contention on the floor exercise.
Vermillion had two gymnasts finish in the top 10 in the all-round competition. Christopherson, a ninth-grader, finished the 2002 season with a fourth-place ranking with a score of 32.417, while Hofman, a seventh-grader, finished 10th at the state with a score of 31.883. Because of their top 10 finished in the all-around, both Christopherson and Hofman were selected to the All-Tournament team.
�We had a great season and a great state meet,� said Upward. �All of the credit goes to wonderful girls and my two exceptional assistant coaches � Kelly Knutson and Teisha Upward.�