Hot Springs champs at Winter Wonderland tourney

Hot Springs won the team championship, and the host Vermillion team placed two athletes among the top 10 in the all-around standings when VHS hosted its annual Winter Wonderland gymnastics tournament Dec. 29.

The top six teams were bunched together within a spread of only 5.5 points in the final team standings.  Behind Hot Springs' winning 125.7 were Britton/Hecla 124.35, Chamberlain 123.7, Wagner 122.65, Milbank 121.65 and Stanley County 120.2.  The Tanagers placed seventh with 116.6 points, and West Central was eighth at 101.93.

Carlie Weiss of Hot Springs was the all-around champion with a 34.25 score, just .9 better than Stanley County's Shelby Gienger.  Vermillion's Elly Melby was fifth at 32.4, and Amber Walker of the Tanagers was eighth at 31.6.

Weiss was the champion in the vault and bars events.  Milbank's Mary Lenards was the champion on the balance beam, and a trio of gymnasts—Gienger; Sarah Claeys of Britton/Hecla and Brittni Kirkpatrick of Chamberlain—tied for first in floor exercise.

Melby was second to Weiss in the vault with an 8.95 score to Weiss' 9.1.  Melby also placed fifth in floor exercise at 8.55 and tied for seventh on the bars at 7.7.

Walker's best placing was a seventh on the beam at 7.5.

"We were pleased with the girls' performance," Coach Mark Upward said.  "We're still shooting ourselves in the foot on the beam, but we're getting better."

Fans who enjoy watching gymnasts perform should mark down next Tuesday, Jan. 12, on their calendars.  Madison, which has won the Class "A" state championship for 15 straight years, will bring its team to Vermillion for a dual with the Tanagers starting at 6 p.m.

Before that, the Tanagers take their varsity and JV gymnasts to Hartford for a dual with West Central Friday night.  Then the varsity girls go on to Fort Pierre for Stanley County's invitational tournament the following day.

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