Feeding off a victory over the Marshall Tigers to open its 2022-23 gymnastics campaign the Pipestone Area Arrows totaled a season high of 125.55 points to place third in the five-team St. James Area Snowflake Invitational tournament Saturday in St. James.
The Arrows’ balance beam efforts were enough to top the field in the event, while runner-up finishes on the vault and floor exercise helped place the talented tumblers right behind titlist Luverne (127.275) and runner-up Redwood Valley (127.025) in the team standings. Windom/Mountain Lake was a distant fourth at 118.75, while host St. James totaled 95.575 markers on the day.
“We actually had more falls on beam than we did in our first meet, and I’d like to see us going in the direction of those smaller numbers,” Pipestone Area head coach Stacie Wallace noted. “There’s still some work to be done.
“That said, there were some really nice things that happened at the meet. Vivian (Brockberg) had a beautiful bars routine, hit her straddle-cut on the high bar for the first time and added a layout half on floor. Davina (Darveaux) had a beautiful beam routine, handled the nerves really well.”
PAS eighth-grader Kaysa Douty, who placed in the top three in 3-of-4 events, snatched runner-up honors in the all-around competition – posting a four-event total of 33 points. Luverne’s Ella Reisdorfer was the all-around champion at 34.55, while Brockberg (31.45) and Megan Lingen (30.85) were fifth and eighth, respectively, for the Arrows.
Arguably a problem event in past seasons, the balance beam proved the Arrows’ best scoring event Saturday, as PAS (30.175 points) was the lone program to post a score of more than 30 points. Douty captured third place on the beam with a mark of 8.175, and Lingen (7.85) was right on her heels in fourth place. Brockberg edged in for eighth place with a score of 7.2, while Darveaux rose to the occasion to complete the Arrows with a solid mark of 6.95.
The Arrows made good headway in their team total on the vault as well, posting a second-best team tally of 34.8. Douty again paced the Arrows, sharing runner-up honors with Luverne’s Kianna Winter and W/ML’s Kaden Paulson at 8.8. Brockberg was also in the hunt, placing third with a mark of 8.75, while Darveaux (8.7) claimed fourth place in a tie with W/ML’s Addison Colbert.
A tight battle for bragging rights on the floor exercise saw the Arrows (32.15) edged out by RWV (32.225), while Luverne was a close third with 32.025 points. Douty’s mark of 8.6 led the Arrows on the floor, and Lingen (8.225) was sixth in a tight spread across places 3-8. Brockberg claimed the ninth position in the event at 7.75, and Naomi Wallace scored a 7.575 to finish 10th.
The uneven parallel bars was the lone event that didn’t see a PAS competitor finish in the top three. Brockberg’s completion of a straddle-cut maneuver helped the freshman post the Arrows’ top a mark of 7.75 and place fifth, while Douty (7.425) and Addison Draper (7.025) finished sixth and ninth, respectively.
“I think for our kids at this point in the season, because they are older kids, it’s going to be taking responsibility for the things each individual knows she needs to work on to have the best benefit for the team, So, each needs to evaluate and question, ‘where do I have work to do?’”
Still, the Arrows eclipsed their previous season high and did so on the road.
“Often times, as a coach, and probably as a gymnast too, we look at the things that didn’t go the way we wanted them to go,” Wallace said. “But there were some really good things going on. The fact that we were within two points of Nos. 1 and 2 (in the team standings) is encouraging… also frustrating. We need to know we’re good enough to do that, show up at a tournament and be contenders. Even with the hiccups we had, we were still in that mix. It was a non-conference tournament and we’ll see each of those team in a conference dual. So, I hope it make them very determined… make those team – especially Luverne and Redwood – sweat a little bit and not count us out. Nor can we count ourselves out.”
The Arrows will get another shot at Luverne Thursday night when they travel south to square off against the Cardinals in Big South Conference action.