Gymnasts start strong, face uphill climb in SLC
By Dan Truttschel~Sports Correspondent
A year after it placed sixth at the Janesville Craig Invitational, the Westosha Central-Union Grove squad came home Saturday with a third-place finish.
Mount Horeb won the team title with a combined score of 136.3750, followed by Kenosha with a 134.9500, Westosha with a 128.8750, Janesville Craig with a 125.1250, Janesville Parker with a 121.800, Milton with a 118.9750 and Whitewater with a 92.7500.
It’s still early and there is plenty of work ahead, Central coach Bill Price said.
“Needless to say, we do need lots of improvement,” he said. “Floor looks to be our Achilles’ heel right now, but with some work, we should get up to speed and (begin) scoring more points on that event.
“Our young gymnasts can now see high school gymnastics is about and will help us to get better very soon.”
Central came back with four place winners, as Sydney Rau was second on the vault (9.250) and fourth on the beam (8.650), Devan Green was fifth on the vault (8.900) and Lexie Biggs was fourth on the bars (8.300).
“By no means was anyone really ready for such an early meet, but Lexie Biggs for us proved to be the most dependable with steady scores on each event,” Price said.
“Sydney Rau and Devan Green will remember the good things from their performances and work on their shortcomings in the other events. We did get to see what some of our young ones can do, and we have others that we will look at in a couple weeks.”
Central is back in action next Wednesday, Dec. 18, when it travels to Waukesha West at 6:30 p.m.
Demons are favorite
Price, who is entering his 35th year as head coach at Central, said he expects Burlington’s combined squad to not only be a favorite in the conference, but among the teams to watch in the race for a state title.
The Demons, who combine with Badger, Catholic Central and Wilmot, return all their main starters and have depth in all events, Price said.
“They should win their fourth straight conference title and are my pick for the WIAA Division 1 state title,” he said. “The rest of the teams will have exciting meets against each other to finish better overall.”
Leaders for the Falcons this year should include Green, Rau and Biggs, Price said. They are joined by fellow returning letterwinners Cassity Beth (senior, bars), Jordan Bruley (junior, all-around) and Autumn Elfering (soph., beam).
Others who Price said could see varsity action include sophomore Hadlei Stanczak (vault, floor) and freshmen all-around performers Nadia Foltz, Madi Hansen, Madi Leafbald, Allie Miller and Kestly O’Neill.
“We have some new incoming freshmen that need to grow skill-wise, but have club gymnastics backgrounds, just not a lot at the optional level,” Price said.
Price said the start of the season has been marred by word that this may be the last season Central will offer gymnastics at the school.
Because of the potential construction of a community fitness center where the gymnasts practice and compete, Price said it appears his team may join forces with the Kenosha Combined squad next year.
Nothing is set in stone, but the uncertainty has taken a toll, Price said.
“Needless to say (this possibility) has had a negative effect on our program after 38 years of having a very successful program,” Price said.
“Besides graduating two outstanding gymnasts, Patience Spinler and Aslyn Wolcott, we also lost four letter-winners who decided not to come back because of the uncertainty of having a future team.”
Price will be assisted this year by Pam Mather (seventh year) and volunteers Yvonne Green, Spinler and Wolcott