Gymnasts gunning for a big year

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Jordan Baggot and Middleton's girls gymnastics team are aiming for a big season./File photo

Their numbers are large.

Their talent is impressive.

And their goals are sizeable.

Middleton’s girls gymnastics team began its season last Thursday with an impressive win over host Sun Prairie. And if first impressions are indeed the most telling, this could be another special season for Middleton’s gymnasts.

“As always, the goal is for a healthy and memorable season,” said Middleton coach Kari Steck, who has a team of 27 gymnasts, the largest in school history. “If a conference and/or sectional championship comes with that, we will be grateful. But that will only come with hard work and dedication, both of which this team has the potential for.”

Middleton lost one of the state’s elite gymnasts to graduation in Madeline Pflasterer-Jennerjohn. But Steck is optimistic she’ll have plenty of candidates to help fill that gigantic departure.

The Cardinals’ top returnees are senior Chloe Young and junior Jordan Baggot, a duo that has competed at the varsity level since their freshman seasons.

“Their leadership and drive sets a strong example for the team,” Steck said of both Young and Baggot. “Both gymnasts are focused and dedicated to leading the team to success this year. I'm looking forward to Chloe Young competing this year. She knows it's her last year and she is determined to make it the very best.”

Junior Karina Sabol, a standout with the Madtown Twisters club team, has switched to high school gymnastics and figures to give the Cardinals a boost.

“Keep an eye out for her,” Steck said of Sabol. “She is extremely hard working and motivated, and I anticipate she will be making a splash at the state level. She's already shown how much of a leader she is, and her presence brings the same 'raise the bar' level that Madeline had on the team. It's amazing. The girls look up to her.”

Freshman Taylor Engelkes is another newcomer that has already caught Steck’s eye.

“She works so hard and is open to trying new things,” Steck said of Engelkes. “She's so coachable, and such a fun gymnast to coach. I look forward to seeing what she accomplishes.”

Freshmen Allie Rice and Sadie Schreier-Jacobson are two other newcomers that could crack the lineup immediately, while sophomore Mara Allen was a solid performer last year and remains a top varsity contender.

Sun Prairie is likely Middleton’s greatest competition in the Big Eight Conference, as well as at the sectional level. But it was a good sign for Middleton that it knocked off Sun Prairie last Thursday.

Sabol was first on the balance beam (9.450), while Young was third (8.550), Baggot was fourth (8.50) and Engelkes was sixth (8.10). Baggot won the vault (8.80), while Sabol was second (8.550), Young was fifth (8.40) and Engelkes was seventh (8.10).

Baggot was second on the uneven bars (8.0), while Engelkes was fourth (7.90), sophomore Kimora Williams was fifth (7.80) and Young was sixth (7.70). And Sabol was second on the floor exercise (8.950), while Young was fifth (8.50), Baggot was seventh (8.30) and Engelkes was eighth (8.30).

Baggot finished as the all-around champion (33.60), while Young was third (33.150).

“Sun Prairie is back in our sectional this year, so that will add more challenges,” Steck said. “We won (at) Sun Prairie last week, so that's a good way to start off the season, and a good confidence boost for the girls.

“As always, our conference is a talented pool with strong individual gymnasts and teams. However, with our depth this year and young talent pool, I expect Middleton to be a top contender.”


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