State ready: Packer gymnasts are set for 5th straight state meet appearance
Published 6:50 pm Wednesday, February 17, 2016
The Packers may be making their fifth straight appearance in the Class A state gymnastics meet this Friday and Saturday, but everything is not the same as it has been for Austin in year’s past.
For one, the Packers have their third coach in three seasons as Nikki Lindberg took over as head coach this season, and secondly, the state meet was not a given for Austin this season.
Junior Maddie Mullenbach said that the Packers knew if they didn’t have a good day at the Section 1A meet, they may not be keeping their state streak alive. They responded by putting up their best score of the season to move on.
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“We went in with a positive attitude and it worked very well for us,” Mullenbach said.
Austin also has a new group of leaders this season as Mullnebach, Paige Raymond, Jennifer Boyle and Rachel Quandt have all offered guidance.
Quandt, a senior, is excited to end her gymnastics career on the state floor.
“It feels really good to have it be my senior year and us making it to state as a team,” she said. “We started off slow at sections, but we ended with floor which is always been our strongest event. It was really good to have the old feeling back again where everyone was pumped up and everyone was having fun.”
Mullenbach, a junior, has finished in the top five at the Class A individual all-around meet in the last three years and this season she has her sights set on another big finish. She won the all-around meet and set a new Section 1A record at Saturday’s Section 1A meet.
“We have our goals and you always have that vision, but either way you made it and that’s all that counts,” Mullenbach said. “You don’t want to over work yourself, but you can’t slack.”
Boyle won the Class A bars state title last season and she’s looking forward to another solid performance.
“We’re hoping to do close to as good as we did last year, if not better,” she said. “I hope we get a good crowd. The more support, the better.”
The Packers will compete in the Class A state team meet 11 a.m. Friday at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis and Boyle and Mullenbach will compete in the Class A individual meet 11 a.m. Saturday in the Sports Pavilion.
Lindberg said that it has made her job much easier to coach a team that has so much state experience this year.
“It makes it a lot easier. They’ll have some nerves, but probably not as much as if it was the first time,” Lindberg said. “They’ll know what to expect.”