Eagle gymnasts defeat BEA

NEW ULM – More than a decade after their gymnastics careers began, New Ulm’s seniors had a fitting result in their final ever home meet.

Eagles senior Michaela Otterstatter won the all-around and fellow senior Kim Berg placed first on bars to lead New Ulm to a 135.1-123.8 win against Blue Earth Area on Friday, a victory that clinched the South Central Conference traveling trophy for the Eagles.

“I’m kind of sad that it is the last home meet for me, but we got the trophy,” Berg said. “We’ve had a really good season, and I am very happy about that.”

New Ulm ended its conference schedule with a 5-0 record, earning the SCC regular season championship for the first time since 2008.

“It’s nice to have it back – we haven’t had it for years, so it’s really, really nice for these girls to understand the conference and what it means,” New Ulm head coach Ariel McFarland said. “It’s a really cool thing thing for them.”

The Eagles had a shaky session on the beam during the meet, but swept the top five spots in the floor routine to make up for it.

“We could have done better on beam,” Berg said. “Other than that, I think it went pretty well. There’s still definitely just the little nitpicky bits that we can always work on, but we did good.”

Otterstatter anchored New Ulm’s efforts by placing first on the floor (8.85) and on the beam (8.95), winning the all-around with a score of 35.025. BEA’s Haley Resutek was second in the all-around with a 32.2.

Otterstatter also had a stand-out score on the vault, finishing with a 9.1 to finish second to BEA’s Cassie Thompson (9.225).

Berg was in her groove on the bars, attempting by far the most difficult routine of the night and nailing it for a score of 8.425.

“That was a nice one,” Berg said. “Especially the cast-to-hand, I could feel it.”

Otterstatter placed second on the bars with an 8.175.

For New Ulm, junior Emily Gulden was second on the floor (8.55) and third on the bars (7.7), freshman Michaela Howk was second on the beam (8.35) and fourth on the bars (7.675), eighth-grader Molly Klimek was third on the floor (8.45), sophomore Allison Rosenhamer was third on the beam (8.275) and fourth on the vault (9.05) and seventh-grader Kirsten Spaude was fourth on the beam (7.75) and fifth on the floor (8.1).

The Eagles finished with a lower score than in recent meets, but most of the difference was attributable to the fact that every New Ulm gymnast fell at least once during their beam routine.

“All I can say is beam couldn’t end soon enough,” McFarland said. “It was very shaky on beam. I’m not sure why, I’m not sure what it was, everybody fell on their tuck-full – it was a rough night on beam, needless to say.”

The Eagles also won the JV competition, earning a score of 117.7 compared to Blue Earth Area’s 77.15.

New Ulm sophomore Allison Lease won the all-around on the JV side with a 30.95. She also placed first on the vault (8.6), second on the beam (7.95) and third on both the bars (7.0) and floor (7.4).

Howk won the JV floor event (8.5), Molly Klimek won on the beam (8.3) and Kate Klimek won on the bars (7.2). Berg was second on both the floor (7.8) and vault (8.2) and Spaude was second on the bars (7.15).

Otterstatter and Berg – who have been in the sport for 14 years and 12 years, respectively – will now look to help the Eagles add the SCC Tournament title to their trophy case. The tournament will be hosted by New Ulm’s top rival, Martin County Area, in Welcome on Friday.

“We just have to try our best again,” Berg said. “Just keep trying our best, keep making sure that we practice hard so we can do our best, and that’s about all that we can do, I suppose. Keep our nerves down, keep practicing, try our best.”

No matter how the season ends for Otterstatter and Berg – which they are hoping will be on a state tournament stage – McFarland knows they will be sorely missed when all is said and done.

“Kim and Michaela, they’re just good leaders, they’re positive girls,” McFarland said. “They’re nice to have around… they’re definitely going to be missed. I’ve been coaching them now for five years, so it’s definitely going to be pretty bitter to have them leave. It’s not a bittersweet thing at all.”

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