By Garrett Aleckson —
Stout gymnastics had a great season last year, and looks to not have their expectations too high this season, but rather to perform at a consistently high level.
The team ended last season at nationals. They performed well, and finished sixth as a team against tough competition.
Kaylee Jondahl (Jr, Elk River, Minn) was a big part of the team’s success last season. She says that the team is focused on more than just getting back to nationals.
“The team’s goals for this upcoming season are to remain healthy, support each other and hold everyone accountable. We want to do our best, and compete well at every meet,” said Jondahl. “No matter what happens, always have smiles on our faces. Hopefully, by the end of the season, we will make get where we want to be.”
Although the implied goal might be to make it to nationals, the ladies do not like to say the word, saying, “We do not like to say ‘nationals’ so we just say ‘N’ instead. We like to take it day-by-day. We do not want to get ahead of ourselves. We want to focus on the process and what is happening now.”
Despite the early struggles during last season, Jondahl says that those struggles were not simply because of poor play.
“Looking back at last season, I don’t think that there are necessarily big areas that the team needs to improve on. Early in last year’s season, the team as a whole struggled with injuries and sickness going around,” said Jondahl. “But throughout the end of the season, we continued to train hard because we knew what it took to get to regionals. When the end of the season came, it really showed how hard we worked and just how bad we wanted it.”
The team has six incoming freshman this year. That usually might suggest some learning curves are in store. Jondahl, on the other hand, is confident in the freshman.
“The freshmen this year actually have a good grip of how college gymnastics work. The meets will obviously be different, but they all have the skills needed to do well, and I think they will really enjoy it. We have strong competitors, and the freshmen are really engaged,” said Jondahl.
Even though Jondahl ended last season on a high note, she still has high expectations, saying, “I basically would like to have similar results, but to improve. There is always room for improvement. I never like to settle, and I feel like I have more to show than what I did last year.”
Jondahl says she and the team are excited for the upcoming season, and hopes to compete at a high level, saying “I’m excited for the season, and looking forward to it. The team is ready to do well and compete. We should have good competition.”