WATERTOWN – One of the most impressive winning streaks in Minnesota high school sports history was on the line for the Watertown-Mayer/Mound Westonka gymnastics team when they hosted New London-Spicer. The Wildcats were the No. 6 ranked team in Class A. The Royals came in wounded and shorthanded.
That didn’t seem to matter for W-M/MW as their depth came through in a big way in big spots as the Royals picked up an impressive win posting a team score of 139.625. NL-S finished with a team score of 135.450.
The win for the Royals pushed their incredible dual meet streak to 110. The winning streak for W-M/MW dates back to 2012.
“It was an unbelievable meet,” Royals coach Steve Hangartner said. “We were not favored and our streak of 109 wins in a row dating back was in jeopardy.”
The Royals came into the dual anything but healthy. Payton Hecksel was still sidelined with an injury and even the girls competing were not at 100 percent. On top of that, Hangartner found out he would be without another athlete the day of the meet due to illness.
“We had a couple of girls out so we were really limping into the meet on one leg,” Hangartner said “I knew we still had a chance to upset them if we were to have the meet of our life. Then I got a call from one of my parents who said their daughter was ill and she wouldn’t make it to the meet. She was an all-arounder, so then I knew we were really in trouble.”
With not many options left, Hangartner turned to his young talent. The Royals had four eighth graders step into big spots and they didn’t miss a beat. Helle Anthony delivered her highest score even on bars to give the team a spark.
On beam, it was Kallie Jackson’s turn to step up. The eighth grader posted a score of 8.80 on beam for the Royals which was good enough for fifth place overall.
“Kallie really stepped up and scored over a point higher than her average,” Hangartner said. “That really lifted the team.”
After a pair of eighth graders steadied the ship for the Royals, the veterans delivered as well. Reagan Kelley posted an impressive score of 9.60 on beam while Maggie McCabe took second with a score of 9.175. W-M/MW closed things out on floor where they claimed three of the top four spots. Grace McCabe posted her personal-best score on floor with a score of 8.725 and the Royals ran away with things as Kelley and Maggie McCabe took the top two spots on floor as well.
Kelley also won the all-around title finishing with a total score of 38.400.
It was a big win for the Royals who have kept on getting better and better as the season has progressed. With the section meet around the corner, W-M/MW will be looking for this meet to really get them going as they look to get back to the Class A state meet to defend their title once again.
“My wife and I were so excited we couldn’t fall asleep until about 2 a.m. because we were so wound up,” Hangartner said. “This was a great meet to propel us to get ready for the section meet coming up.”
Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter – @Kovar_HJSports
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