The Caledonia/Spring Grove/Houston gymnastics team came up short on the home floor during a dual with the Byron Bears by a 129.52-96.82 score. However, head coach Jess Wiese said the team took a big step forward after adding more difficult skills during practice sessions over the holidays. Rachel Welch and Brianna Johnson also took two of the top five spots in the all-around competition.

All-Around

Welsh was fourth 26.475 (4th-place) and Johnson fifth 22.95

Vault

Rachel Welsh 7.8 (Fourth place), Kourtney Olson 7.55, Maddie Wieser 7.45, Brianna Johnson 7.15, Kylie Staggemeyer: 6.95, Total:29.95

“Rachel Welsh earned a 7.8 score on her front-handspring vaults, which gave her a fourth-place finish and two conference points,” Wiese said.

“Rachel has been working hard on eliminating her pike onto the vault and a nice clean block through the shoulders. She created gorgeous straight lines and had pop off of the apparatus. Vault is a very difficult event because not only do you have to remember all of these little things, but you have to do so when sprinting towards a stationary object. By tweaking her vault with these minor changes, Rachel's score reflected that you don't have perform insane skills to earn a high score.”

Wiese added, “Kourtney Olson, Maddie Wieser, Kylie Staggemeyer and Brianna Johnson also completed nice front handspring vaults respectively.”

Bars

Rachel Welsh 5.65 (Sixth place), Brianna Johnson 4.925, April Bauer 4.175, Maddie Wieser 3.925, Ayshia Gay 3.55, Total: 18.675

“April Bauer started us off strong on bars with a 4.175,” Wiese said. “Over our winter break, April learned a tuck fly away off the high bar. Being that this is the last skill in her bar set, my worry was that the rest of her routine would suffer due to jitters. When April jumped to high bar and pulled for her long hang pull over, she didn't quite make it. We all thought she would jump down and salute, but that wasn’t the case. With pure determination to not give up, April stayed in a crunched tuck position until she muscled through and completed her pull over. That was a job well done.”

“Brianna Johnson improved her bar score drastically by cleaning up her tap swings and leg form,” Wiese said. “During the last few practices, Bri's entire focus has been on her form. By squeezing her quadriceps muscles, her knee bends are minimal, and by keeping a hollow shape, she was able to eliminate the unwanted arches. Our next focus is kips. We need to get them on low and on high bar. Little by little, we are getting better and better at this extremely difficult event.”

Beam

Kourtney Olson 6.225 (Sixth place), Rachel Welsh 5.65, Brianna Johnson 5.1, Maddie Wieser: 4.8, Kylie Staggemeyer 4.725, Total: 21.775

Wiese said Maddie Wieser had a spectacular beam routine, noting that over winter break, Maddie's beam skill level skyrocketed.

“New to Maddie's beam routine is a cartwheel, swing-through, cartwheel for her new tumbling series, a bigger/more brave split jump tuck 3/4 for her jump series, and a front-tuck dismount,” Wiese said. “Maddie had some falls and a lot of little wobbles, but with practice and becoming more fluid in her movements, Maddie's score will reflect her hard work.”

Olson earned sixth-place with her beam routine. Wiese said her grace and skill level are among the best on the team.

“An area we need to work on is focus,” she said. “Every bobble and balance check is a tenth. In our upcoming practices, I will be pushing pressure-sets to gain this focus because every tenth counts. I am very proud of how Kourtney was able to perform her beam set because, during the practice before our meet, Kourtney jammed her big toe, which is a super-painful injury. I am very proud of how she was able to work through the pain.”

Floor

Rachel Welsh 7.375 (6th-place, new personal record), Kourtney Olson 6.925, Kylie Staggemeyer 6.075, April Bauer 6.05, Brianna Johnson 5.775, Total 26.425

Wiese called Staggemeyer a little dynamite on floor, noting that she didn't just complete one new floor pass, she completed two.

"Her first pass was a front tuck, forward roll, cartwheel and her second a round off back handspring, back walkover. Kylie is one of the most coachable athletes I have ever worked with in my five years of coaching. If I ask her to try a new skill, the next turn she goes for it. If I make a correction on her form, Kylie corrects it, and it doesn't happen again! Kylie is an amazing athlete! With her power and no-fear attitude, we will continue pushing and work towards back tucks on floor and round off back handspring, back handspring.

Wiese said the coaches are very proud of the girls for adding new skills during practices over the holiday break.

“A lot of girls threw new skills this meet and are on the cusp of throwing them at our next meet if they weren't quite ready,” she said. “Each and every practice, they give it their all and are wanting to become better gymnasts. I have so much love for this sport and it makes my heart feel full that they love it as much as I do.”

Wiese said Becky Meyer was unable to compete due to a knee injury, but they are hopeful that she will be able to recover in time for their meet against Pine Island at the end of this week on the road this Friday, Jan. 12, at Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa.

The Bears also won the JV competition 110.9-80.05