After making the Class 2A state gymnastics tournament last season for the first time since 1993-94, the Elks are looking to build off of their historic 2019-20 season. In addition to ending a 26-year state tournament drought, Elk River finished first in the Northwest Suburban Conference with a record of 9-1 and tied with Anoka and Maple Grove for the conference championship. The Elks finished first in the Section 5AA tournament on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, at Champlin Park High School. Elk River’s highest ranking in the Minnesota Girls Gymnastics Coaches Association poll was fourth.
While the 2021 Class 2A state gymnastics tournament has not yet been scheduled, the Elks enter the 2020-21 season with nine gymnasts from last season’s state tournament team returning this season. The gymnasts returning this season are: eighth grader Kendall Cole, freshman Marissa Obefeld, sophomore Jaelyn Sorenson, juniors Ava Cole, Zoey Johnson, Cadence Martie and Abby Rekstad, and seniors Lexi Milless and Miranda Schwieger. Martie’s status for 2020-21 is unknown, as she had shoulder surgery in May 2020. Joining Elk River this season in freshman Sydney Martin, who will primarily be competing on beam.
Captains will be named once the season begins. Head coach Jenn Bartlett returns for her 21st season as the Elks’ “mama bear.” Rounding out the coaching staff are assistant coaches Margaret Mize-Schwieger, Cassi Sanford and Tobby Stroud.
Johnson finished fourth on beam at the 2020 Class 2A tournament on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul. Rekstad finished seventh.
The Elks will open the 2020-21 season against Northwest Suburban Conference rival Champlin Park on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 6:30 p.m. at Elk River High School. Their first tri-meet of the season will be against Andover and Blaine on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 4:30 p.m. at Jam Hop Gymnastics in Ham Lake. Elk River will face Maple Grove on senior night, which is Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Elk River High School. The Elks close the regular season against the Tornadoes on Thursday, March 4, at 6:30 p.m. at Anoka-Hennepin Sandburg Education Center.
Bartlett said her goals for 2020-21 are to break 140 points in 75 percent or more of meets, stay in the Top 3 of the NWSC and Section 5-2A and send three or more athletes to the podium at the postseason culminating event.
“We are continuing to keep the excitement in the air this season,” Bartlett said. :The Elks will be deep with skills and youth to help us continue our climb in the NWSC and Section 5-2A. The Elks want to be back at the State tournament (if we have one) and take some team hardware home. It was amazing to make the 2020 State tournament but we were not satisfied with our performances. It is an exciting time to be an Elk!”