A small team with big dreams
After about 15 years in the former Winnebago Elementary School gym, the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers gymnastics team will be back at the elementary gym in Blue Earth.
“The team and I are excited that we are able to call this space our home for the next 16 weeks or so,” says head coach Rachel Cole. “We are so thankful that we have such supportive staff who have graciously given up their spaces and made adjustments to their schedules so that we are able to be here in Blue Earth. We have four home meets scheduled for this season.”
Those home meets include Tuesday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. against Jackson County Central, Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 6 p.m. against Worthington, Friday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m. against St. Peter, and Friday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. against New Ulm.
The Bucs’ first meet of the season is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 5, in Luverne.
This year’s team consists of 11 gymnasts, which is down a bit from last year considering four of last year’s seniors have graduated and a few other gymnasts decided they will not be competing this season.
“We gained one seventh grader this season, Tailor Douglas, as well as one eighth grader, Aaliyah Bauer as well as ninth grader Alicia Machacek,” says the head coach. “Senior Sydney Blagg and junior Amarrah Harris, as well as freshman Haley Kalis, will all be team captains this year.”
Returning sophomore Jazmyn Lunz will also be returning to the team along with freshman Adrianna Reddick. Eighth graders Addison Armstrong, Maddie Dulac, Lauren Survis and Lizzy Uecker will also be returning to the team.
“Our incoming girls this year have some form of experience in gymnastics and almost all of our team has had experience competing in gymnastics at the club level,” says Cole. “However, we are still a very young team with the bulk of our girls being freshmen and younger.”
Cole says the team has some emerging leadership and is fortunate to have a team full of girls who truly love gymnastics and are eager to work hard.
“With fewer girls on our roster this season, we really have to focus on hitting routines during competitions as well as staying healthy and injury-free,” adds the head coach. “We also plan to focus on trying new skills to continue to add more difficulty to our routines.”
Overall, Cole says the team’s focus is to continue to perfect what they know, and she says they are headed in the right direction.
“As a team, I’d like our varsity girls to hit the 125 mark,” she says. “Last season, we were just shy of that with a little over a 124, so this is definitely attainable. As always, we are looking to add another win to our season record as well.”
The BEA gymnastics team only has 12 scheduled meets during their regular season, so adding one more win would be a big accomplishment, according to Coach Cole.
“We lost a couple of close competitions last season that we would like to go the other way. Individually, Haley Kalis and Addison Armstrong finished all-conference last year, so they are hoping to do the same this season,” says the coach. “Mentally, the girls are ready to pick up where they left off last season. They are excited to be back in the gym and work on their new skills and routines.”
Cole says every team has the opportunity to compete at their section tournament, and for the Bucs this year, they will be going to Glencoe-Silver Lake for their section tournament on Thursday, Feb. 13.
“Mankato West is pretty dominant in our section, typically scoring in the mid-140s. They won the section last year, and I believe they will be a favorite again this season. However, there is potential to have an individual or two from BEA to qualify for state,” says Cole.
Most of the teams on the Bucs’ schedule will be tough this year, scoring in the 130s and higher. The Bucs were able to finish ahead of Luverne and St. James last year and they came very close to beating Windom.
St. Peter and Waseca have scored in the upper 120s against the Buccaneers in the past, which is not too far out of reach for the Bucs this season.
“Our girls just have to continue to work on hitting clean routines and adding in difficulty as the season progresses,” says Cole. “We are eager to show what we’ve got and how much we can grow. It’s going to be a great season of learning and teamwork.”