Tiger gymnasts eclipse previous best team score

MARSHALL – Marshall gymnastics coach Lindsay Wolff has told her girls throughout season that they’re not competing against opposing teams, they’re competing against themselves.

In that case, the young Tigers, whose oldest gymnasts are freshmen, earned a resounding victory in Thursday’s home dual against Mankato West. The visiting Scarlets easily won the dual, putting up a strong score of 133.825, but Marshall’s score of 107.725 was four points more than the team’s previous best.

The meet concluded a busy six-day stretch of competition in which the Tigers hosted an invite on Saturday, then had a dual against Jackson County Central on Monday before wrapping things up with Thursday’s home dual against Mankato West. Instead of showing fatigue, the Tigers rose to the challenge and had their best performance of the season.

“You never know if it’s going to be a good thing or a bad thing having these back-to-back meets,” Wolff said. “The toughest was Saturday to Monday, but then we had a couple of days of practice and we kind of took it easy on them yesterday and they came out here today and you can definitely see the things we worked on over our long Christmas break are becoming more comfortable.”

The Tigers’ team score of 26.950 on the balance beam was their best of the season, as was their score of 20.450 on the uneven bars.

Facing the tough roster of the Scarlets, Marshall freshman Meg Ellis managed to place in the vault, taking third with a score of 8.675. She was the only Tiger to finish in the top three in the four events.

Ellis scored a 7.175 on the beam, while teammate Natalie Rademacher added a 7.100. Fellow freshman Shauna Vandendriessche chipped in a 6.875 to help the Tigers to their best score in the event.

“Shauna really stepped it up for us on beam,” Wolff said. “She’s our second- or third-highest scorer in that and she kind of got moved up in our tournament and she’s really stepped it up. You can see she’s really working hard on it in practice and all the girls in general, varsity and JV, have been really stepping it up and pushing themselves.”

Rademacher led the way for the Tigers on the uneven bars with her score of 6.400, and Nicole Deragisch had the top finish for the team on the floor exercise at 7.400. Ellis wound up having Marshall’s best all-around score at 28.250.

Mankato West’s score of 133.825 was also its best of the season. Scarlet freshman Miranda Deatley led the way, posting a first-place score of 34.275 in the all-around.

Coming off of its busy stretch of events, Marshall has some time off until its next competition. The Tigers’ next meet is a road dual against Windom on Thursday.

“I think scoring what we did today is really going to give them the energy and ambition they need to push and see if we can break that again next Thursday,” Wolff said.