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Coaches report: Minot gymnastics HC Robbie Werchau

Following a fifth-place finish at the Mandan Christmas Invite on Dec. 18, the Minot varsity gymnastics team will head to Jamestown for its next competition on Friday afternoon.

At Mandan, Minot’s Haley Conklin paced the Majettes in the all-around (33.2), vault (8.525), uneven bars (7.875) and floor exercise (8.975) categories. Meanwhile, Pavyn Peterson registered a team-high score of 7.925 in the balance beam competition.

The Minot Daily News asked MHS head gymnastics coach Robbie Werchau for her thoughts on the team’s season opening performance, as well as what she expects to see on Friday in Jamestown. Here is what Werchau had to say via email.

MDN: What was it like to get out there for the first meet of the season?

Werchau: It felt good. For four out of the five of them it was their first high school gymnastics meet ever, so they were a little anxious about how things worked and how they would measure up. From my perspective as a coach, it was fun to see the girls so excited to compete and come together as a team.

MDN: Overall, what were some of the positive things you took away from the competition?

Werchau: The girls coming together as a team was a definite positive. They cheered for each other and for the girls from other teams, and that was nice to see. They were just so fired up and laughing and having fun together. The meet had an “Ugly Sweater” theme to it, and the girls fully participated in that and won the Spirit Award. I also think seeing the level of competition at the high school level and how the scoring works was a good thing for the girls. It gave them a better understanding of what high school gymnastics is all about.

MDN: What are some of the things you’d like the team to improve on as the year continues?

Werchau: I would like to see our skill level go up. We need to incorporate more difficult skills and combinations into our routines. Improving on our skill level will increase our potential to score higher on each event. We also need to be more consistent, which means staying on the balance beam and getting rid of extra steps and bobbles.

MDN: Haley Conklin had an exceptional performance last time out in Mandan. Describe what makes her such an outstanding gymnast.

Werchau: To put it bluntly, Haley does the work. She doesn’t cheat on technique or reps during practice or conditioning. It’s not always easy for her, but she does not quit. And she has a desire to do well. She is competitive. I love and appreciate that about her. That competitive nature makes my job as a coach much easier. Plus, Haley is a great role model for her teammates.

MDN: What are your expectations heading into the next meet in Jamestown?

Werchau: I’m hoping the girls have new skills in their routines and that we can be more consistent with few or no falls.

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