Westosha Central’s Megan Zeller completes a floor routine during the Waukesha West Sectional where she qualified for the state meet in the vault (Mike Ramczyk/The Report).

Central gymnast shows potential, coach said

By Jason Arndt
Editor

On the state stage, there are athletes who buckle under pressure and there are those who show poise, and Westosha Central junior Megan Zeller is the latter of the two.

Zeller, an individual state qualifier for Kenosha Combined Gymnastics in the vault, showed composure in her first career appearance in last weekend’s meet at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Fieldhouse.

“Megan did really well handling the state meet,” said Kenosha coach Melissa Olson. “It helped that Megan qualified in her best event and she has a lot of confidence in herself on vault.”

Zeller advanced to the state meet after placing third in the WIAA Division 1 Waukesha West sectional a week earlier, when she registered a score of 9.4, which tied her season best.

While Olson believes Zeller had some nerves as she approached the vault, the junior used the nerves to her advantage, landing a score of 9.217 to finish ninth of 25 competitors.

“They weren’t the nerves that cause a gymnast to get in their head and start freaking out, they were the nerves that gave her the adrenaline to perform a beautiful vault.”

Although Zeller missed the podium, coming up .10 point short, Olson said the progress she made as a junior gives her reasons for optimism entering next season.

The optimism includes Zeller’s willingness to improve, learn and fearless approach to performing difficult routines.

“Megan has a ton of potential and is already working and planning on how to improve her scores for next year,” Olson said. “(She) knows exactly what she needs to work on.”

“Megan is the gymnast we can count on for the vault. We know when she’s up, she is going to deliver and give us a solid score.”

Zeller, however, was not the only individual qualifier from Kenosha Combined Gymnastics.

Joining Zeller were Maggie Losch and Grace Corcoran.

Losch, who qualified in three of four events, excluding the balance beam, placed third in both the floor exercise and all-around.

Losch also placed eighth in the vault.

For Corcoran, she finished 16th in the floor exercise.

Olson said with another year of experience under their belt, the three could help the team accomplish its goal of qualifying as a team next season.

“After leaving the competition, we discussed changes we could make to routines to showcase the girls’ strengths and add difficulty,” Olson said. “I know that they are ready to work and come back next year even stronger.”

As a team, Kenosha Combined Gymnastics finished third in the Wuakesha West Sectional, behind Franklin co-op and Burlington.

Meanwhile, for Burlington, which has Wilmot Union High School representative Jessica Zeitler, the co-op team placed third at the team state meet held March 2.

WIAA State Meet
Wisconsin Rapids – March 3

Vault: 1. Karina Sabol, Middleton, 9.6; 1. Tyra Turner, Madison East/La Follette, 9.6; 3. Alexis Woida, Arrowhead, 9.45; 4. Cailin Mahoney, Nicolet, 9.433; 5. Annie Mularski, Hartford, 9.383; 6. Lexi Penney, Brookfield East/Central, 9.317; 8. Maggie Losch, Kenosha, 9.25; 9. Megan Zeller, Kenosha, 9.217.

The following story below was published in March 2 edition of The Report

Central’s Zeller vaults to state gymnastics meet

By Jason Arndt
Editor

In her first year with Kenosha Combined Gymnastics, Westosha Central High School junior Megan Zeller refuses to give up, often spending extra time achieving near perfection on the mats.

Her efforts paid off on Feb. 22, when she vaulted to third place with a 9.4 at the Division 1 Waukesha West Sectional, which qualified her for the WIAA Division 1 state meet in Wisconsin Rapids this weekend.

Zeller, according to Kenosha coach Melissa Olson, has been on a mission since she joined Kenosha Combined Gymnastics following a year away from the sport due to a wrist injury.

“As the season went on Megan tried harder and harder and did not give up until she got her vault just perfect,” Olson said. “She also is a very strong gymnast which helps her get the power to perform her vault so well.”

Zeller, who said she is nearly recovered from the injury, knew she had an opportunity for a state berth entering her first season, not only as a member of Kenosha Combined Gymnastics, but also as a transfer student from St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy.

“I knew I had the vault down and that I had a chance to make it to state, but you never know what will happen at state meets,” said Zeller, whose family moved into the Westosha Central district.

Overall, Zeller collected 34.7 points in the all-around, which placed her 10th. Her next-best scores were on the balance beam (8.5), followed by the floor exercise (8.45).

Zeller, whose team narrowly missed qualifying as a group with a third-place finish, will join teammates Maggie Losch and Grace Corcoran at the state meet.

“We really wanted to qualify as a team, we were really close, we got third,” said Zeller, who looks forward to joining her teammates.

Losch placed fourth in all-around (36.65), first in floor exercise (9.4), second in vault (9.425) and fifth in uneven bars (9.25).

Corcoran took fourth on fourth (9.250).

Olson, who is in her first year as coach, said their accomplishments leave her amazed.

“It feels amazing,” Olson said. “I couldn’t be happier for the girls, all their hard work has finally paid off.”

Individual competition starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Fieldhouse, where Olson hopes to see the three continue their success.

“I hope to see exactly what I’ve been seeing at practice from Megan and the two other gymnasts going to state,” she said. “If Megan brings the power that she’s been bringing on vault, she will do exceptionally well.”

For Zeller, she credits Olson for helping her improve throughout the season, and has enjoyed being part of the Kenosha Combined Gymnastics team.

“The coach is great, and she just helps everyone improve,” she said. “It is really fun to be a part of something.”

The fun extends to her state appearance, where she looks to embrace the opportunity.

“It is just about having fun at state, you have nowhere else to go after that, just go for it,” she said.

Multi-sport athlete
While she qualified in gymnastics, Zeller was a member of the Lake Geneva Badger co-op swim team last fall, and looks to join the girls soccer squad during the spring.

“The athletics at Westosha Central are very good, and the swim team was awesome and everyone was so welcoming,” said Zeller, who already knew some gymnastics teammates from her time at Scamps Gymnastics club.

 
 

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