One for the record books
Marshfield gymnastics sets a new school record, looks to continue success
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield gymnastics team continues to grow, mature, and compete at a high level.
After setting a new school record with a score of 129.775 at the Snowflake Invitational in Rhinelander on Dec. 10, the Tigers are poised to continue an upward trend heading toward the postseason in late February and hopefully into March at the WIAA State Meet in Wisconsin Rapids.
Marshfield has 11 returning athletes vying for varsity spots in the four events — floor exercise, vault, balance beam, and uneven bar — making it tough on a crop of five talented freshmen that are working hard on the junior varsity.
Among those that are back for the Tigers is sophomore Emma Haugen, who won the floor exercise at the Great Northern Conference Meet and qualified for the WIAA State Gymnastics Meet in the vault last season, tying for 22.
Junior Macey Smith is back to form after an injury-riddled sophomore season and has a number of top-five finishes on her early-season résumé.
“Emma is adding to her difficulty this year with big upgrades on bars and vault,” second-year Marshfield coach Allie Dryer said. “She plans to put in her upgrades on bars in the next few weeks. She has the potential to win conference and sectional titles on any of the four events and the all-around and could very well earn a return trip to state this year in more than one event.”
“Macey is back fully from an injury sustained early last season and has already improved upon her previous personal records,” Dryer added. “She is very strong on the vault, where she consistently scores amongst the top of the vault standings. She has a great work ethic and leads by example, constantly working to improve her scores for the team.”
Juniors Bailey Schmitt, Makenna Gramza, and Isabelle Jensen; seniors Audrey Horvath and Ciera Neufeld; and sophomores Melanie Hafenbredl, Brooke McGrath, Merrissa Immerfall, and Ally Bakke round out the varsity squad.
Jensen and McGrath are two more Tigers that could make noise in the postseason, which begins with the Great Northern Conference Meet on Feb. 18 in Mosinee.
“Isabelle is phenomenal on beam, where she typically anchors our varsity beam rotation with a consistent routine,” Dryer said. “Brooke is working a very challenging vault, one which starts out of a 10.0 — one of the most difficult vaults for high school gymnastics. If she can get that vault consistent before the end of the season, she will definitely be contending for conference and sectional titles — as well as state berths — on the vault and floor.”
Dryer said she is pleased with the early-season progress, which included a second-place finish at the Snowflake, a dual meet win over Chippewa Falls, and a narrow loss to perennial state power River Falls. She said she hopes it is just the beginning to what will be a great season.
“This team has much more to offer, and I expect the school record to continue to increase throughout the season,” Dryer said. “We are hoping to qualify more than one gymnast to WIAA state in March and have dreams of making it to the WIAA state meet as a team.
“The girls are motivated to improve upon their team record and are excited to be making new MHS gymnastics school history.”
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times Sports. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.