Tiger gymnastics team drops SWC dual to Luverne

MARSHALL – Gymnastics is not a contact sport, but any gymnast will admit that going through a season takes a toll on the body.

The Marshall gymnastics team has fought injuries and illness all season, and Thursday was no different. With two varsity members out and two others competing a day after being sick, the Tigers still scored a 108.250, one of their top scores of the season, in a Southwest Conference dual against Luverne. The Cardinals ended up easily winning the dual with a score of 127.175, but Marshall head coach Lindsay Wolff was proud of how her squad fought through some adversity.

“I know it’s hard because everyone’s hurting, but we’ve got that itch to see if we can set that new high score,” Wolff said. “To come out and score 108, I’m proud of the girls. They’re starting to want it.”

The Tigers were paced by the freshmen pair of Natalie Rademacher and Meg Ellis. Rademacher finished third in the all-around with a score of 28.650. She had the top score for Marshall in the uneven bars (7.100) and the balance beam (7.050). Ellis was just behind her with an all-around score of 28.550. She led the team in the vault (8.400) and tied for the team’s top score on the floor exercise (7.350).

On a team with nobody above ninth grade, it has been Ellis and Rademacher who have emerged as two of the young leaders of the squad.

“Meg and Natalie came out and hit it on all their events tonight to definitely lead the team,” Wolff said. “We’re definitely starting to see the consistency out of them. In practice they’re definitely starting to lead the girls and push them through these last couple of weeks.”

Luverne’s Samantha Pierce had the top all-around score with a 31.575. Her Cardinals earned the top three places in each of the individual events on the night.

Marshall had its top score of the season on the uneven bars with a 21.700. And despite some falls on the balance beam, Wolff said the Tigers are starting to string their routines together nicely.

With just one more dual left in the regular season, which will be next Thursday against Redwood Valley, the Tigers are a bit banged up. Wolff said it’s going to be key to give her gymnasts the proper amount of time to recuperate so they can hit the home stretch hard.

“You’re using every muscle of your body,” Wolff said. “The girls, coming into the season, the first couple of weeks are always hardest. Towards the end you’d think they’d be used to it but doing one skill differently works something else, or you can pull something and then that just messes with your whole body.

“We’ve been trying to let them get their rest and we’ve been taking it easy the last couple of days so I think taking it easy between meets definitely helps. We’ll take it easy again tomorrow and hopefully we can push through these last couple of weeks and have everyone healthy for sections.”