Champlin Park gymnastics might have graduated two perennial state qualifiers from last season’s squad, but the returning core back for 2022 continues to show off the talent in the program.
Senior captains Jordan Smith and Bella Schneider and junior Katie Johnson, who won the all-around gold in the 5AA section last season before an injury kept her out of the state meet, are three solid athletes at the top of the lineup, and Melina Ung has moved up from junior varsity to give the Rebels a fourth all-around gymnast.
Ellie Heltemes (beam, floor), Gabi Palm (bars) and Hannah Davis (vault) are also rotating in on the varsity lineup.
Still, when a program graduates gymnasts like Tashina Beyioku-Alase and Emma Saksa, who scored over 9.0 in competing events throughout their careers, there is certainly an adjustment period.
The Rebels were scoring over 137 points consistently in 2021, and they finished the year with over 142 points in the 5AA section meet, about two points under section champion Elk River/Zimmerman.
This season, Champlin Park is still over 130 points, but there will need to be improvement to reach the levels of last year on a team level.
The Rebels traveled to Park Center High School Jan. 8 for the Minnesota Girls Gymnastics Officials Association Classic.
This season, Champlin Park competed in Division 2 and was able to score a 130.525 to win the D2 title.
The vault was the strength of the Rebels with a 33.225, and they outscored St. Louis Park 31.7-28.25 on bars and 32.9-30.725 on beam to beat out the Orioles for first (125.825).
Champlin Park also scored a 32.7 on the floor.
Johnson won the all-around title with a 34.475. Johnson’s strength was on the beam, where she won another gold medal with a 9.4.
Johnson also finished second on the floor with an 8.675, finishing behind Park Center’s Lubnag Xiong. She was 15th on the vault with an 8.2.
Johnson took home a silver on the bars, as well, scoring an 8.2.
Teammate Smith won the uneven bars title with an 8.35. Smith was also third in the all-around with a 32.625, and she added medals on the floor (8.425) and on beam (8.05) with sixth-place finishes.
Smith was 25th on the vault with a 7.8.
Schneider finished eighth in the all-around with a 31.275, and Ung was 11th with a 30.125.
Ung won the vault gold with an 8.575, and Schneider took home the silver with an 8.55.
Schneider took seventh on the beam with an 8.025, and also medaled with a ninth-place finish on the bars (7.0).
On floor, Ung was 13th with a 7.9, and Schneider was 15th with a 7.7.
Ung was also 14th on the beam with a 7.2 and 15th on the bars with a 6.45.
Palm added a medal on the bars with a third-place score of 8.15. Heltemes was 12th on the beam with a 7.425 and 20th on the floor with a 7.55. Davis finished 23rd on the vault with a 7.9.