Alex Lutz –
The University of Wisconsin-Stout women’s gymnastics team is a force to be reckoned with this season, ranking third in the nation and grabbing the number one seed in the conference. This season the team broke records for the all-around opening score on the balance beam, uneven bars and overall team scores. Coach Becky Beaulieu said, “It’s just fun to see them succeed and encourages them to focus on the things that they can change, not on the outcomes of their meets.” The team has surpassed all of her expectations for them; coming off a less than impressive season last year. The team has roared back with dominance this year.
There are many stand out athletes on this team and the first among them is freshman Britney Wolfe from Mililani, Hawaii. “Personally, I would say I’m having a very successful season, considering I’m a freshman and scoring a 9.75 on balance beam and a 9.65 on floor. That is a pretty big accomplishment for myself,” said Wolfe. Coach Beaulieu believes the junior class is the strongest among all four represented. Sierra Beaver of Lancaster, Ohio is one of those juniors. She is ranked first in the country on the uneven bars this season.
The team is strong in all four events this year, but Coach Beaulieu credits Assistant Coach Seth Helland with the team’s strength in the uneven bars. Coach Helland leads the team for vault and uneven bars. Consequently the team is currently ranked first in the country on the uneven bars. Under the lead of Coach Helland for the first time, the team broke the uneven bar record, which is a testament to his hard work and connection with the girls. Though Coach Beaulieu doesn’t bring up the team’s rankings, Coach Helland likes to talk about them and brag about the team’s successes to anyone that he can.
The Blue Devils only have one senior this year and that is Chelsea Gray of Fitchburg, Wisconsin. Gray is actually Wolfe’s “big” this year. “I absolutely love her, she’s always there for me on good days and bad. On the bad days, she talks to me and helps me get through them. [She’s] always looking for the positive. I want her to know that even though I’ve only known her for a year. She’s my biggest role model for gymnastics and for everything outside of gymnastics. She’s so sure of herself in everything she does and I want to be like that one day.”
Coach Beaulieu isn’t sure how the season will wrap up, but she believes in the team and sees them doing big things to close the season strong. “They work harder than other teams. They’re hungry; they train hard. I know they’re going to give it everything they have.” On March 9, UW-Stout will host the WIAC West Regional meet at 2 p.m. They are expecting around 1,500-2,000 fans to be present for the meet.