It's admittedly still a very young team, but the Vermillion High gymnastics team is at least a very young team with an extra year of experience.
Coach Mark Upward is working with a squad of nine athletes, five of whom are freshmen who participated as varsity gymnasts last year while still in the eighth grade.
Upward's Tanagers are paced by a pair of juniors, Elly Melby and Amber Walker, who were the team's high scorers last season. Joining them are sophomores Christine Epping and Cassie Donahoe and freshmen Morgan Hower, Alexis Reich, Jade Fostvedt, Rory Tucker and Grace Olson.
The Tanagers opened the 2009-10 campaign Tuesday night with a dual against some of the best possible competition around. Sioux Falls Lincoln topped Vermillion in a dual meet, 139.25 to 111.65, at Sioux Falls. Melby was the only Tanager who placed within the top five in any of the four individual events, scoring an 8.0 and earning third place on the balance beam. She was sixth in the all-around standings.
Vermillion is off for a week until the next competition at Wagner's invitational tournament on Saturday, Dec.12. Highlighting the home schedule this season will be the Winter Wonderland meet at VHS on Dec. 29.