SGA qualifies 11 gymnasts for regional meet

Spearfish Gymnastics Academy will send 11 members to the Region 4 meet set for April 16-18 in Bettendorf, Iowa. Pictured are, back row from left: Brooklyn Moser, Savanna Dunwoody, Kathleen Cook, Jazmyn Jiminez, Sophia Hatleli; front row from left, Mia Bush, Avery Coyle, Ruthie Wehrung, Liliana Swisher, Morgan Jenkins, and Kyra Vandenberg. Pioneer photo by Jason Gross

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SPEARFISH — Eleven Spearfish Gymnastics Academy members will compete at Level 6-10 Region 4 meet slated for April 16-18 in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Seven athletes have qualified for Level 6. They are, Avery Coyle, Morgan Jenkins, Mia Bush, Sophia Hatleli, Kyra Vandenberg, Liliana Swisher, and Brooklyn Moser.

Kathleen Cook will represent Spearfish at Level 9.

The Level 10 field will include Spearfish’s Savanna Dunwoody, Jazmyn Jiminez, and Ruthie Wehrung.

All gymnasts qualified for regionals by posting an all-around score of at least 34.000 (on a 40.000-scale) at state or another sanctioned meet.

The all-around score combines the efforts for the four individual events: floor exercises, uneven bars, balance beam, and vault.

“The biggest highlight for these guys as a whole team was the state meet,” Level 6 head coach Lexie Cathcart said.

Cathcart said Spearfish athletes competed at virtual meets at home most of this season.

Team members performed a total of 28 routines at state; Cathcart said they hit all 28, which means no major errors or deductions.

Team members adjusted well to the virtual format this season, according to Cathcart.

She said they got used to how quiet things were in the gym as opposed to a traditional meet in a large venue.

“They rose to the occasion, and we made the best of it,” Cathcart said. “It ended on a great note at state.”

Cathcart said the Level 6 squad wanted to top the 114-point plateau this season.

It did so for the first time at state.

Phil Summers coaches the Level 9-10 gymnasts and said those four were starting to come into their own in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic forced cancelation of the state, regional, and national meets that year.

“They were able to continue to advance,” Summers said in describing the gymnasts’ efforts in 2021. “They’ve gotten so strong and confident in what they’re doing.”

Summers said the four have advanced to where they have room for small errors and still be able to advance to nationals.

Those berths go to the top seven finishers in a gymnast’s age group.

“The thing they’ve got is, all are doing consistently well enough that I don’t think they have any issues,” Summers said.

Summers said the four adjusted really well to having virtual meets this season. “They treated the virtual meets like they were the real thing,” he added.

Virtual meets are more informal than a traditional meet. Athletes were permitted more time to warm up for their events in the virtual setting.  

“They all really, really hope and plan to make it to nationals,” Summers said in describing the four gymnasts’ goals. “Beyond that, I think they want to see that they can place possibly in the top 10 in their age group at nationals.”

Region gymnasts’ highest scores for this season follow.

Kathleen Cook (Level 9): 8.95 vault, 8.75 uneven bars, 8.85 balance beam, 9.60 floor exercises, 34.50 all-around.

Savanna Dunwoody (Level 10): 9.575 vault, 9.625 uneven bars, 9.250 balance beam, 9.550 floor exercises, 37.000 all-around.

Jazmyn Jiminez (Level 10): 9.450 vault, 9.900 uneven bars, 9.375 balance beam, 9.650 floor exercises, 38.350 all-around.

Ruthie Wehrung (Level 10): 9.475 vault, 9.575 uneven bars, 9.550 balance beam, 9.850 floor exercises, 37.600 all-around.

Kyra Vandenberg (Level 6): 9.325 vault, 9.275 uneven bars, 9.150 balance beam, 9.550 floor exercises, 37.200 all-around.

Brooklyn Moser (Level 6): 9.225 vault, 9.800 uneven bars, 9.400 balance beam, 9.450 floor exercises, 37.125 all-around.

Mia Bush (Level 6): 9.400 vault, 9.550 bars, 9.750 balance beam, 9.750 floor exercises, 38.025 all-around.

Avery Coyle (Level 6): 9.275 vault, 9.450 uneven bars, 9.700 balance beam, 9.575 floor exercises, 37.650 all-around.

Sophie Hatleli (Level 6): 8.875 vault, 9.325 uneven bars, 9.450 balance beam, 9.375 floor exercises, 36.875 all-around.

Morgan Jenkins (Level 6): 9.075 vault, 9.200 uneven bars, 9.450 balance beam, 9.475 floor exercises, 37.100 all-around.

Liliana Swisher (Level 6): 9.175 vault, 9.300 uneven bars, 9.575 balance beam, 9.575 floor exercises, 37.250 all-around.

The USA Gymnastics website indicates COVID-19 protocols will be in place.

Spectators protocols

Masks are required, plus efforts to engage in social distancing.

All athletes and fans must leave right after the session.

Spectators must enter the facility with their athlete.

An athlete not competing will not be allowed to watch a teammate perform for free.

Coaches-athletes protocols

Masks are required at all times. Athletes may go without masks when on the equipment.

Social distancing is to be observed.

Athletes are to bring their own chalk, spray bottles, brushes for bars, and hand sanitizer.

Athletes are to leave right after the session.

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