Tanager gymnasts improve performance at state tourney

Another season of learning and growing for Vermillion High's young gymnastics team ended at the state tournament in Aberdeen last weekend, and the Tanagers placed ninth in the Class "A" team competition.

In addition, their two junior leaders, Amber Walker and Elly Melby, set the stage for an even better senior year by placing 15th and 16th, respectively, in the individual all-around competition.

Coach Mark Upward was excited after Friday's competition when his girls' score of 124.814 was posted. That is 13 points better than last year's state meet with the same girls competing.  

Upward said the floor exercise event got the team off to a good start. On the parallel bars where the Tanagers have struggled this season, he said "we were pretty solid."  Even in the bars event, Vermillion's season-long nemesis, "we came out of it the best we have done all year."

If next year's team is identical to this year's as anticipated, Walker and Melby as seniors will be joined by one junior, four sophomores, and two eighth graders among the girls who competed for VHS at the state meet.

Madison won its 16th straight "A" team crown with a 141.927 score, but Deuel High of Clear Lake was a close second at 139.810.  The Tanager duo's all-around scores on Friday were 32.483 for Walker and 34.050 for Melby.

Vermillion's scores in the team competition were:

Bars:  Melby 7.850, Walker 7.633, freshman Morgan Hower 6.333, freshman Grace Olson 5.900, seventh grader Teddi Settles 1.766.

Beam:  Melby 8.650, Walker 8.200, freshman Rory Tucker 8.150, freshman Jade Fostvedt 6.783, sophomore Christine Epping 6.383.

Floor exercise:  Melby 8.800, Walker 8.450, Tucker 7.783, Fostvedt 7.683, Epping 7.483.

Vault:  Melby 8.750, Walker 8.200, Epping 7.966, Hower 7.683, seventh grader Jamie Moos 7.383.

For Saturday's individual competition Walker's 33.250 for 15th place averaged out from 19th place at 7.650 on bars, a tie for 10th at 8.600 on beam, 28th place at 8.350 in floor and 21st at 8.650 in vault.  Melby, right behind at 33.232, earned 16th place at 7.750 on bars, a tie for 24th at 8.016 on beam, 18th at 8.750 on floor and 14th at 8.716 in vault.

The other Vermillion qualifier for Saturday's individual events, Fostvedt on the beam, placed 45th with a score of 6.5830.

Next year's state tournament will be held at the Huron Arena.

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