Gymnasts team, Walker, Melby, qualify for state

Gymnasts team, Walker, Melby, qualify for state By Parker Knox
Sportswriter Vermillionâ�?�?s gymnasts have qualified for this weekendâ�?�?s state meet as a team after placing third in the Region 2A meet hosted by VHS last Friday night. In addition, the Tanagers' two veteran gymnasts, sophomores Amber Walker and Elly Melby, both qualified on their own to compete on the individual side of the state event. The Class â�?�?Aâ�? team competition will be run Friday night at Carold Heier Gym at Rapid City Stevens High School.�?  The â�?�?Aâ�? individual competition is set for Saturday night. Madison, which is chasing its 15th consecutive state â�?�?Aâ�? championship, won the regional team title with a score of 137.2 points. A scary thought for future seasons is that the top four girls in the all-around standings were all from Madison, and the oldest of those four is a freshman along with an eighth grader and two seventh graders. Wagner with 119.6 and Vermillion with 113.0 joined Madison in qualifying for the â�?�?Aâ�? team competition at state.�?  Left out is fourth-place West Central, which posted a 104.8 score. West Central had been within three points of Vermillion in previous head-to-head meets, so the fact that the Tanagers had a comfortable margin of more than 12 points pleased Coach Mark Upward. â�?�?Our two sophomores (Melby and Walker) have worked hard and have been great team leaders,â�? Upward said.�?  Melby placed fifth in the all-around standings, the best of any non-Madison gymnast, at 32.325 points. Walker was seventh at 29.75. Qualifying for the individual competition at state required a gymnast to place among the top 50 percent of the contestants in any particular event. In most cases that would be 12th place or better. So the fact that Rory Tucker, who placed 13th in floor exercise, missed qualifying by .025 was one of the regional's disappointments for the Tanagers, but she and all the other young VHS gymnasts do get to make the trip to compete for the team title Friday night. As for Melby and Walker, here are their scores and places in individual events: Balance beam:�?  Melby fifth, 8.275; Walker 11th, 6.925. Uneven parallel bars:�?  Melby tie for sevent, 7.475; Walker 10th, 6.425. Floor exercise:�?  Walker fifth, 7.85; Melby ninth, 7.625. Vault:�?  Melby third, 8.95; Walker tie for sixth, 8.55.

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