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NUA banking on blended team for success in 2021

File photo by Steve Muscatello Kaya Goblirsch is back for the Eagles this season.

NEW ULM — The New Ulm Area gymnastics team is very excited to practice as a group and is looking forward to competing once again.

Kortney Peterson, NUA head coach, returns at the helm for her fifth season. She brings a wealth of experience to the program and is expecting the Eagles to soar this season.

There are a total of 18 students out this season. Brooke Aschenbrenner, Kaylee Hutchinson and Paige Kalis are the three seniors. The trio will serve as tri-captains this season. They were captains last season as well.

Peterson said the pandemic has changed things a bit for gymnastics this season. She said there are four different events where everyone can social distance properly. She noted that spectators are a big part of the sport, and the pandemic will change that because it will look differently this season.

The Eagles currently only have meets from the Big South Conference. The section information is still to be determined.

NUA has a good mix of ages this season. The Eagles did not lose anyone to graduation, plus there are seven new gymnasts to the team.

“This group of gymnasts has been the most hardworking, dedicated and talented group of athletes that I have coached, “ Peterson said. “I expect they will do very well and I expect to see a steady increase in our score throughout the season.”

Kayla Goblirsch and Ella Freiderich will be the top all-around members on the team. Aschenbrenner, Hutchinson and Kalis will see varsity time in many different events. There will be a mix of members from last season’s team blending in with the new team members to fill in where they are needed. Peterson said the squad has a lot of depth and almost everyone will likely see varsity time in at least one event during the year.

Peterson said the team was disappointed with the delay, but now that they are able to get into the gym and practice, they are very excited to be back again. Everyone has adapted as best as they can in light of all of changes that have happened over the past 10 months.

The team held Zoom workouts, so most of the team members were practicing throughout the year (when available) at surrounding gyms and everyone has stayed in “pretty good shape.”

“The gymnastics team is coming off an undefeated season,” Peterson said. “In 2020, they won all regular season dual meets.”

Peterson acknowledged that this year’s schedule “is very different”, but she has high hopes for a strong season.

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