Technically, the Monticello gymnastics team lost their Thursday night meet against Big Lake. But it sure didn’t feel like it, according to Coach Brent Wuollet.
Monticello scored 137.575 points, their highest output in at least three years, said Wuollet.
Big Lake, one of the top teams in both the conference and the class, scored 140.35 to top the Magic. But that didn’t put much of a damper on Monticello’s best performance in years.
“I was really happy and the girls were really excited about how they competed,” said Wuollet, who added that he wasn’t really surprised by Monticello’s high score.
“I’ve been telling them since the beginning of the season that we’re capable of this,” he said.
The Magic have proven they have the pieces to score well, they just needed them to fall in place at the same time. That started to happen early on Thursday.
In Monticello’s first event, the vault, they had four girls hit difficult routines.
Kennedy Bican scored 8.95 to earn a third-place finish at the meet, and her teammate Mikara Mitchell was right behind her in fourth with a score of 8.9.
Teammate Kaitlyn Hellman provided a boost for Monticello, earning an 8.4, her best score of the year, to push the team score up.
“Right off the bat, we scored really well,” said Wuollet. “That kind of got the ball rolling for us.”
The second event, bars, is the event where the Magic have the lowest ceiling. The Hornets were able to open up their lead in this event, but Monticello minimized it by being solid across the board.
“We didn’t do anything spectacular, but we did what we do as well as we could do it,” said Wuollet.
Bican scored 8.175 points to finish second in the event, while her teammates Mitchell and Emily Docken-dorf finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Monticello came back with a strong performance in the beam, where they stuck their three toughest routines.
Noelle Berg landed her aerial walkover for one of her best scores of the season, an 8.975, and a fifth-place finish. Mitchell stuck her routine for a score of 9 and a fourth-place finish and Bican continued to improve on the beam, turning in a 9.25 to earn third place.
During the final portion of the night, floor exercises, Wuollet said the Magic were solid once more. But they also have room for improvement in that event, as some of their top girls are still working on perfecting bigger skills that they have not yet added to their performance routines.
Bican again led the way for the Magic, as the seventh-grader scored a 9.375 to pick up a second-place finish. Teammates Berg and Gabbie Kittel tied for fifth as they both scored an 8.8.
Bican’s events totaled up to a 35.75 in the all-around, the best score of her young career and good enough for a second-place finish.
Mitchell finished fourth in the all-around, scoring 34.55 points.
Wuollet said early in the year that Big Lake was definitely one of the teams they would measure themselves against. Thursday, they were happy with how they stacked up.
“We haven’t really been up to their level for a few years,” said Wuollet. “To be able to come as close as we did is really exciting for the girls.”
Just as exciting is the fact that Wuollet doesn’t think they’ve reached their ceiling. With a couple of weeks left before sections begin, the coach is convinced Monticello can climb higher.
“If the girls that are working some higher level skills can get those in, we could be pushing 140,” said Wuollet.
The Magic have two home conference meets left on the schedule. They host St. Michael-Albertville at 6:30 tonight at Eastview Elementary School. Tuesday, they host Buffalo, a team that has been putting up similar scores to the Magic throughout the year.
“That’s usually a really good meet,” said Wuollet.
Contact Clay Sawatzke at email@example.com