VHS gymnastics team competes at state tournament Friday

Vermillion earned the right to take its entire team to the state gymnastics tournament by placing third in the regional meet at Mitchell Friday.

The Tanagers will be part of the Class "A" team competition in a session starting at 9:30 a.m. Friday in Aberdeen.  Then on Saturday at the same time, Elly Melby and Amber Walker will compete in the Class "A" all-around competition and Jade Fostvedt on the balance beam.

Last year at the state meet Vermillion accumulated 111 points.  Coach Mark Upward said he thinks his club could improve their point total by as many as 10 points this time around even though the roster is composed of the same girls as a year ago.

VHS had 121.875 points in the regional last week, trailing perennial state champ Madison with 139.15 and runner-up Wagner with 126.925.  West Central placed fourth with 112 points.  The top three teams automatically qualify for the team competition at state.

Melby and Walker qualified for the state all-around by placing among the top 12.  Melby was sixth with a season-high score of 33.05, and Walker was ninth at 30.975.

In individual events Melby was fourth in the vault at 9.075, sixth in the floor exercise at 8.45, sixth on the beam at 7.75 and ninth on the bars at 7.775.  Meanwhile, Walker was fifth on the floor at 8.55, ninth in the vault at 8.575 and 12th on the bars at 7.30.

Fostvedt earned the right to compete on the beam by placing eighth in that event with a 7.65 score.

Madison claimed the top five athletes in the all-around standings, led by champion Lexi Finck with a 35.875 tally.

Rory Tucker was the Tanagers' heartbreak athlete of the day, placing 13th on the beam, missing 12th place by .05.  Twelfth would have meant she advanced to the state in that event.

The salvation to Tucker's disappointment is that she and teammates all get to join Melby, Walker and Fostvedt at state to compete in the team competition.  Besides juniors Melby and Walker and freshmen Fostvedt and Tucker, other members of the Tanager squad in Aberdeen will be sophomores Cassie Donahoe and Christine Epping; freshmen Alexis Reich, Morgan Hower and Grace Olson, and seventh graders Jamie Moos and Teddi Settles.  Helping Upward coach the VHS team is second-year assistant Kelly Enebo.

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