February 28, 2023 at 3:48 p.m.
Althaus medals in final gymnastics meet
Melrose Area’s Courtney Althaus walked out of the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul following the Minnesota State High School League Class A Girls Gymnastics State Meet Feb. 25 with a state medal around her neck.
She earned it, placing fifth out of 48 competitors on the beam routine. Her 9.375 score was .2 points behind that of the champion.
“The beam has always been a strong suit of mine ever since I was little,” she said. “I always found it a strength.”
Althaus, one of three Lady Dutchmen at the meet, competed as an all-around. Sophomore Maria Hinnenkamp finished 28th on vault at 8.375 and eighth grader Josie Eveslage scored 8.525 to take 36th on the beam.
“They all did really, really well,” said Katie Masog, head coach. “Even though Josie fell on her beam, she got up and did a new skill she had never done in competition before and nailed it. Then, she nailed the rest of the routine. Maria has never done bars at state before, and she’s only done that routine four, maybe five times in meets. Courtney had a great day, with nines in every event.”
Althaus earned a 9.25 on bars for seventh and finished 32nd in the floor and vault with a 9.025 and a 9.1, respectively. She compiled a 36.65 all-around score, finishing eighth.
The beam was her final routine of a state-caliber career that started in eighth grade. That she medaled says something of her inner drive.
“Kudos to all senior gymnasts,” Masog said. “They had breaks because of COVID-19. It’s hard to do really big skills with the breaks.”
And ever since she was little, Althaus has loved gymnastics. She has been fortunate, except for a broken toe, to not have had a serious injury, and always works at the sport. It was not just the moves and routine; she likes the atmosphere.
“I love the coaches, the teammates and friendships I can make,” she said. “I love being with the little girls and seeing them make accomplishments.”
Not only the younger elementary gymnasts look up to her. Both Hinnenkamp and Eveslage said they will miss her next year.
Hinnenkamp’s season ended in the state bar competition, a respectable finish on an enjoyable day.
“It felt good,” she said. “I like being on the big stage and hearing all the fans cheering for me and my teammates.”
Eveslage was experiencing state for the first time. Overall, she was pleased with her routine, except for her early fall. Still, she was smiling when thinking of another part of it.
“I got to do a new skill, so I’m happy with that,” she said. “It’s the one-handed walk over.”
That said, her first state trip will be marked by another image.
“I was seeing Courtney’s last year,” she said.
Masog felt Althaus finished not only the meet well, but also her Melrose body of work. Althaus’s career has been one of perseverance, and the medal rewarded that.
“She was always sweet and worked hard,” Masog said. “Gymnastics was not easy for her. Physically and mentally, she has had ups and downs ever since she was little. She has to be proud of what she did today, this year and her career. It’s been great.”
There were different champions for each routine this year. Reagan Kelley, of Watertown-Mayer, was the all-around (38.3) and vault (38.3) champion, Dakota Esget, of North Branch, won the bars at 9.575, Avery McAllister, of Perham, captured the beam title at 9.575, and Britney Krumrei, of Big Lake, earned the floor championship at 9.6.