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Post takes over Magic gymnastics helm

MAGIC RETURN — Members of the Martin County Area Magic gymnastics team opening the season by playing host to Windom Area on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at Live Fit Sport & Wellness Center in Fairmont include, front row (l-r): Hayley Clarke, Caydence Weber, Adrianna Knafla, Ava Thate, Nola Thedens, Abi Chavez, Amelia Anderson and Madisen Ludwig. Back row: Thea Peterson, Anna Bachenberg, Jadyn Montgomery, Ellie Schultze, Hailee Schuett, Ellie Hernes, Hannah Linse, Anna Utermarck and Hannah Fischer. Not pictured: Amalia Leiding, Kara Osmundsen and Megan Wheeler. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Annie Post becomes only the third head coach in the rich history of the Martin County Area winter sports program, but she’s hardly a new face to the returning Magic gymnasts.

Post enters her seventh season teaching the intricate skills needed to send the judges’ scorecards into the 9.0-point range as the Magic prep for their 2021-22 season-opening dual meet against Windom Area on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at Live Fit Sport & Wellness Center in Fairmont.

“There are a lot more details to work out on the management side of being a head coach than I realized before,” Post said with a smile. “It’s challenging from an organizational perspective, but I think I’m starting to get things figured out.

“It helps that I’ve got a couple of assistant coaches (Courtney Schultz and Justin Thedens) returning and a talented group of gymnasts back from last season’s team.”

Junior Anna Bachenberg, who generated MCA’s No. 2 scoring average in the all-around competition during the covid-condensed 2021 campaign, will open this winter in a limited role due to a recurring injury.

“Anna (Bachenberg) will be a (balance) beam and (uneven parallel) bars specialist for us due to battling hyper-extended knees that originally happened last season,” said Post.

The senior quartet of captain Ellie Hernes and leadership team members Hailee Schuett, Ellie Schultze and Hannah Linse, along with junior Anna Utermarck and sophomore Abi Chavez, also return to the equipment to pack point-producing punch to the Magic’s rotations this winter.

Hernes, who netted an all-around total of 32.025 points during last year’s Section 3A Meet, will open the schedule by working the unevens, vault and beam to start dual-meet competitions.

Schuett, who produced a 31.725 all-around mark in sectional action, will join Chavez and freshman Ava Thate in competing in the all-around, along with Schultze figuring into the four-event mix.

Schultze, who competed in the postseason on unevens and beam in 2021, will add vault to her repertoire before honing her skills on the floor exercise.

Utermarck, similar to Bachenberg, will be limited in her roles starting the season due to a shoulder injury that occurred during fall soccer. Utermarck, who generated a 31.175 all-around score at last season’s sectional, will work the vault and beam.

Linse, who earned a regular spot on varsity vault, and Chavez, a regular competitor on varsity floor, also bring solid scoring to MCA’s lineup this winter. Linse also will work the beam, while Chavez and Thate — top scorers at the junior varsity level in 2021 — will vie for time on all four pieces of equipment.

Post also anticipates seventh-grader Jadyn Montgomery as a potential unevens and vault performer, while seventh-grader Amalia Leiding could see time on varsity beam and/or vault.

“There are a lot of possibilities with this many talented gymnasts on our roster,” said Post. “Now we just need to find a way to piece it all together.”

Ironically, for the first time since Martin County West and Fairmont combined to create the shared gymnastics program in 2009-10, the Magic will make the move from Section 3A to 2A this winter.

“We’re excited to see new opportunities in a different section,” said Post, whose lineup captured runner-up sectional team honors to Worthington last season. “While Worthington and Jackson (County Central) were our top rivals in Section 3, we anticipate that Mankato West and New Ulm will keep us on our toes in Section 2.”

Post said she, her coaching staff and her gymnasts want to grow the uneven parallel bars portion of their program to help them take the next step in the scoring column.

“Most big meets come down to how you execute on bars and beam, so we need to add a few tenths here and there,” said Post. “Our team goal is to qualify for state, but we’re going to have to push toward learning a few new skills along the way.

“We’ll start the season by nursing some injuries, but that should open up some opportunities for our other gymnasts and eventually give us more depth on each event by season’s end.”

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