A flipping fantastic trip to the state tournament


Anna Keltto

The Owatonna Girl’s Gymnastics team during the National Anthem at the state tournament

This past weekend, the Owatonna Girls Gymnastics team made their first-ever trip to the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion for the state gymnastics tournament. On Friday, Feb. 19, the Huskies competed as a team in the Class AA division, representing Section 1. They finished in sixth place with 146.125 points. Roseville, the four-time defending state champions, finished in second place with 147.925 points. St. Cloud Tech took home the gold with 149.125 points. Head Coach, Tom Smith said, “Being the first gymnastics team in the history of Owatonna to win sections and advance to the state meet as a team was awesome. I could tell the girls were a little nervous, but they competed like champions.”

The Huskies’ first ever state appearance as a team was both exciting and impressive. Senior captain, Steph Kretlow said, “It was really cool to be able to compete in the huge arena under the lights in front of so many people. We took in every moment of it as a team and wouldn’t have wanted to end the season any other way than being able to compete with the best teams in Minnesota.”

Becca Olson performs her floor routine.
Anna Keltto
Becca Olson performs her floor routine

The following day, Saturday, Feb. 20, was the individual competition. Seventh grader, Lindsay Bangs, competed on the beam, finishing in ninth place out of 31 with a score of 9.3125. Sophomore Becca Olson also competed individually on the beam. Kretlow competed individually on both the vault and floor. With a score of 9.725, she took home the second place medal for vault.

Kretlow was the only member of the team returning to the state competition. She also competed during her eighth-grade, freshman and sophomore years. Kretlow says this year exceeded her expectations, “I came into the meet just wanting to medal, so I’m really excited that I placed second.”

The Huskies also walk away from this season with a special award. Coach Smith was named MSHSL Gymnastics State Coach of the Year. He says, “It is a great honor to know that your fellow coaches throughout the state believe in your skills as a coach and regard you as one of the best.”

These girls are resilient and I believe will improve throughout the year and will surprise a lot of people again next year. They will be a team to be reckoned with in the future”

— Coach Tom Smith

The Huskies were a young team this year, with their varsity lineup consisting of one senior, two sophomores, two freshmen and a seventh grader. Olson, a sophomore for the Huskies, looks forward to the coming seasons. “Steph leaves with some big shoes to fill, but I think as a team we will be really successful. We are only losing one senior and we have some really talented girls on JV.” Olson says that the team has high hopes for the future, “Some of our goals are definitely to make it to state again next year, both as a team and individually, and also to place at state.” Coach Smith agrees, “These girls are resilient and I believe will improve throughout the year and will surprise a lot of people again next year. They will be a team to be reckoned with in the future.” With the majority of the team being underclassmen, the OHS Gymnastics team will continue to perform in the years to come.