Gymnasts place second at triangular

The postseason has arrived for the Vermillion gymnastics team, and now the trick is to place among the top three teams among four in the regional in order to advance to the state tournament.

Coach Mark Upward and his Tanagers join Madison, Wagner and West Central gymnasts in Mitchell for their regional meet at 4 p.m. Friday.

The top three teams will advance to the team competition at next weekend's state meet in Aberdeen, but so do the top 50 percent of the individuals competing in each of the four individual events.  In addition, any gymnast who has met the regular-season qualifying standard of 8.5 in any event in at least three meets automatically advances to state.

There is no question who the No. 1 team at the regional will be.  Madison is seeking its 16th consecutive state "A" crown.

The other three schools vying for the two remaining state tourney slots from this region got together for a triangular last week in Vermillion with Wagner placing first at 127.45 points, the Tanagers second at 119.7 and West Central third at 112.6.

"We have been trying to get to 120 all season," Upward said, "and this time we got to 119.7."  The coach described the triangular as a "mini-regional," and said afterward, "We sort of know where we stand."

He said his gymnasts would be concentrating at practices this week on the beam event, which has been a season-long challenge for the Tanagers.

Wagner's Jessica Koupal won the all-around in the three-team meet here with a 33.7 score and won three of the four individual events – the beam at 7.95, floor exercise at 8.4 and the bars at 8.45.

Vermillion's Amber Walker was second to Koupal on the floor at 8.25 and on the bars at 8.1 and placed third on the beam at 7.4 and fourth in the vault at 8.6. Walker finished second in the all-around standings at 32.35.

The Tanagers' Elly Melby was fourth in the all-around at 30.55.  She won the vault event with a 9.05 score and placed fourth on the bars at 7.9.

The other Vermillion placer was Jade Fostvedt, who ended up fifth on the beam at 7.2.

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