February 21, 2023 at 3:38 p.m.
Individual meet Feb. 25 in St. Paul
The Melrose Area Lady Dutchmen gymnastics team will be part of the final day of the season.
Three members of the squad – senior Courtney Althaus, sophomore Maria Hinnenkamp and eighth grader Josie Eveslage – qualified for the Class A gymnastics state meet after the Section 8A championships Feb. 18 at Fergus Falls Community Center in Fergus Falls.
To qualify for Minnesota State High School League Girls Gymnastics State Meet, a gymnast had to be either one of the top three all-around finishers or one of the top three performers on a routine.
Althaus is making her fifth state tournament appearance, having first competed there as an eighth grader. She has been the premier gymnast on the team for the past few years.
“She has upper-level skills and they are clean,” said Katie Masog, head coach. “She is confident and strong in all events.”
Medaling in all routines at the section meet earned Althaus all-around runner-up honors. She was second on floor and bars, third on beam and fifth on vault.
“My favorite was the floor,” she said. “I saw my teammates dancing and started getting excited.”
Hinnenkamp is also returning to state. Last year, she competed on the beam and vault. This season, she will be competing on the bars.
“Maria has been working the bars like no other,” Masog said. “This month, we put in new combinations and it paid off.”
Hinnenkamp came to the podium placing in the top 10 for the vault and all-around. She received medals for her fourth-place outing on the bars and sixth-place performance on the beam.
“The bars felt good,” Hinnenkamp said. “I have a sore ankle; they don’t bother it as much.”
Eveslage will be making her first trip to state, where she will compete on the beam. She finished fourth at sections in that competition.
“Josie literally had her best beam of the season, which earned her a trip to go,” Masog said.
The trip will bring back a few memories in Eveslage’s family. Her mother, Sherry, is a former state gymnastics champion and currently holds the state floor record.
The statebound trio were not the only Lady Dutchmen with top-10 designations. Gabby Schoenberg finished eighth on vault and bars, Alea Berscheit tied for ninth on vault, and Hannah Hoppe was eighth on beam and floor. Their efforts brought Melrose 143 points, enough to earn second as a team. Detroit Lakes had its best meet of the winter, scoring 147.125 to take first place.
“We knew going in that they had a little more difficulty in their routines,” Masog said. “If they were off and we were on, it could have been a different story.”
Besides the state qualifications and section medals, Masog was named the Section 8A Coach of the Year. The award is voted on by the section coaches.
The team earned one other honor, as alternate Celia Schoenberg won the seventh-grade handstand contest.
Althaus, Hinnenkamp and Eveslage will compete at state at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul.
Melrose: Vault: 5. Althaus 9.2. 8. Gabby Schoenberg 9.05, 9. Hinnenkamp and Alea Berscheit 8.95 and 12. Hoppe 8.7. Bars: 2. Althaus 9.2, 4. Hinnenkamp 8.6, 9. Gabby Schoenberg 8.375, 11. Hoppe 8.350 and 12. Eveslage 8.375. Beam: 3. Althaus 9.325, 4. Eveslage 8.225, 6. Hinnenkamp 9.0, 8. Hoppe 8.95 and 18. Brynn Shaw 8.175. Floor: 2 Althaus 9.4, 8. Hoppe 9.0, 11. Eveslage 8.75, 14. Gabby Schoenberg 8.675 and 15. Hinnenkamp 8.5.