State-bound sisters: Molly Norton and Reese Norton will compete in different sports Saturday

Published 8:14 pm Monday, February 14, 2022

If things had turned out differently, Austin senior Molly Norton and her younger sister Reese Norton, a freshman, would be dancing at the state high kick meet together this weekend. They could also both be competing at the state gymnastics meet.

Instead, Molly will be closing out her time with APDT at almost the exact same time that Reese is making her debut in the state gymnastics meet just about 20 miles away.

“The only reason I’m sad about going to state is that I won’t get to see Molly’s final state appearance,” Reese said. “I’ll watch videos of it.”

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It will be a busy Saturday for the Norton family as Reese will be competing in floor exercise at the state gymnastics meet at 6 p.m. in Roy Wilkens Auditorium in St. Paul and Molly will be competing in the state dance meet at 2 p.m. in Target Center in Minneapolis. The finals are set for 7:15 p.m. and Reese will not be able to make it to see her big sister dance for the last time with APDT.

Unfortunately, that’s been the case for Reese quite often as gymnastic meets often fall at the same time as dance meets. 

“I don’t think she’s ever been to a single dance competition of mine, because our schedules always line up on the same day or time,” Molly said. “I’ve seen her compete in gymnastics and diving (with the swim team) during the week.”

Reese actually began as a dancer when she was young, but she eventually took a liking to gymnastics and stuck with it. By the time she was a third grader, she was all in.

“I started moving up the levels with gymnastics and I liked it,” Reese said. “I kept going and here we are. There are dance aspects in gymnastics on the floor and beam. You have to incorporate dance into it.”

Molly dabbled in gymnastics when she was younger, but she didn’t fall in love with the sport. Instead, she took up dance and hit up every studio in town before sticking with Just For Kix. Molly’s background in gymnastics has helped her with the dance team.

“They’re both really physically demanding when it comes to strength, mindset and flexibility,” Molly said. “They have their differences too. Gymnastics has four events and dance is three minutes long, but the practices are roughly the same with the conditioning.”

Molly and Reese both have a strong work ethic and drive and neither of them want to take the easy way out in school or sports. 

“I like the aspect of having to work to a point and not have stuff handed to you,” Molly said. “It’s great to have stuff handed to you, but it’s so much better when you work for it and you know you’ve earned it and you deserve it in every single way.”

While the girls aren’t always able to support each other in person, they do so through texts and updates. They also spend time together in the car after practice, where they unwind.

Reese is already dreading the day when her big sister leaves the house.

“I’m going to get very upset when she leaves for college,” Reese said.

Molly is embracing the time she has left in the same house as Reese.

“We’re best buds. We’re really close,” Molly said. “I pick her up from practice and we have our jam sessions to get into the zone or out of the zone, depending on what she needs.”