Tanager gymnasts place sixth at State

Tanager gymnasts place sixth at State
The Vermillion Tanagers improved their score from Regions by six points as they scored a 124.894 which was good enough for a sixth place finish on team day at the 2008 State Gymnastics meet held in Brookings this past weekend. The breaking news from the team day at state was that the Madison Bulldogs won their 14th consecutive state title. This unbelievable feat sets a national record for any high school gymnastics program to win 14 in a row.

"We looked good in every event. With only two falls on beam, we can't complain about the outcome," said coach Mark Upward. "We definitely missed Calle and Sidney in our team plans for the year." Sorensen missed the entire year with a broken arm, while Mount missed the second half of the season with chronic back pain.

"It was a very exciting meet this year," said Upward. "there was less than a two point spread from third to eighth. The winner was never in doubt, but the rest of the teams made the state meet exciting."

On Saturday, the gymnasts performed their routines one more time as they tried for individual honors. On the vault, Vermillion saw Elly Melby finish in the ninth spot with her handspring/full vault (8.75), Amber Walker 11th (8.516), Heather Zimmerman 23rd (8.133), and Raychel Lorenz was 36th with her handspring vault.

On the uneven bars, Lorenz was the highest placing Tanager as she placed 14th (7.866). she was followed by Melby (21st – 7.45) and Emily Renner (22nd – 7.433), and Walker (39th – 7.066).

Senior Heather Zimmerman led the way on the balance beam as she finished 15th with a score of 8.150. Rounding out the balance beam on individual day for the Tanagers was Amber Walker in 18th (8.0), Elly Melby in 29th (7.533), Raychel Lorenz in 33rd (7.283), and DeNell Dykstra in 40th place with a 7.016.

In the final event, floor exercise, Vermillion didn't have anyone in the top 20. However, they had very good performances from Lorenz (21st – 8.383), Melby (21st – 8.366), and Walker (29th – 8.150).

In the all-around category, all three of Vermillion's all-around gymnasts placed in the top 20. Melby led the way as she place 13th (32.099), while Walker and Lorenz finished in 18th (31.732) and 20th (31.398), respectively.

The individual championship day saw a young gymnast collect all five titles. Sam Wiekamp, a seventh grader from Deuel, shut out previous Madison winners when it came to individual titles as she set three new state records on her way to a clean sweep. Wiekamp was first in vault (9.433), bars (9.3), beam (9.65), floor (9.716 and all-around (38.099).

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