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MCA’s Cole, BEA’s Armstrong ready for state gymnastics meet

READY FOR STATE — Blue Earth Area’s Addison Armstrong (right), shown making a jump-turn on the balance beam, will compete — along with Martin County Area’s Hannah Cole — in the Class A state individual gymnastics meet at 11 a.m. Saturday at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul. (Photo by Kevin Mertens/Faribault County Register)

FAIRMONT — Martin County Area freshman Hannah Cole and Blue Earth Area senior Addison Armstrong will represent opposite ends of their respective prep gymnastics careers at Saturday’s 11 a.m. Class A individual state meet.

Cole will make her Minnesota State High School League state debut when she springs off the vault table at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul during the elite event’s first rotation.

Cole, who captured the bronze medal at last Thursday’s Section 2 Meet with a 9.4-scored pike Tsuk, will be in the fifth spot of the six-vaulter rotation.

Armstrong, who returns to the St. Paul equipment after netting 36th place on the vault with a score of 9.05 at the 2023 state meet, will compete for hardware on both the balance beam and floor exercise.

The 2024 Section 2 balance beam champion opens her final state gymnastics competition out of the sixth spot in the section’s beam rotation, which is the fifth overall flight of eight on the meet. Armstrong struck gold on the 4-inch-wide apparatus in St. James last Thursday with a winning score of 9.225.

Armstrong steps to the floor two rotations later and will display her tumbling skills out of the No. 2 spot in the sectional lineup. Armstrong garnered the sixth floor score and a sectional medal with a total of 9.125 last Thursday.

BEA’s six-year varsity veteran closed out the regular season with a team-leading all-around average of 34.64, including a season’s-best mark of 35.325.

Armstrong, who captured seven all-around crowns during the 2023-24 campaign, averaged 9.083 on the floor en route to 11 seasonal championships.

The Bucs’ senior sensation also claimed nine vault crowns, eight balance beam gold medals and six uneven parallel bars championships this winter.

Cole, who competed at Level 7 in USA gymnastics for Mankato Area Gymnastics School in 2022-23, made a smooth transition to the high school level this season.

Cole averaged 9.33 on the vault to win 11 individual seasonal crowns to help pace a team-leading all-around average of 34.925 during her first prep campaign.

The fab freshman claimed eight uneven parallel bars championships, six all-around gold medals and three balance beam crowns to highlight her first varsity season for the Magic.

Cole, who generated a season’s-best score of 9.45 on the vault, will vie for all-state honors on Saturday after a familiar foe in Niya Hauer of Mankato West.

Hauer represents the top returning vaulter Saturday on the heels of a third-place state medal with a 9.65-scored effort in 2023.

North Branch junior phenom Dakota Esget also returns to the vault on Saturday after earning a sixth-place medal a year ago with a score of 9.5625.

Esget also captured all-state accolades in the 2023 individual state meet with a third-place showing in the all-around (37.95), claimed the Class A state championship on the uneven bars (9.575) and netted sixth on the floor (9.45).

Perham’s Avery McAllister returns to the balance beam on Saturday to defend her 2023 state gold medal after producing a score of 9.575.

McAllister qualified for this season’s state meet by winning the Section 8 all-around, vault, beam and floor, while Esget pocketed the Section 7 all-around, beam and floor crowns. Esget placed third in the 2023 Class A all-around competition with a 37.95.

Worthington senior Hali Bullerman, who garnered 10th in last year’s Class A state all-around with a 36.15, hits the St. Paul equipment on Saturday after winning Section 3’s all-around, vault and unevens.

Willmar’s Lyndi Koosman, who placed 13th in the 2023 Class A state all-around with a 36.3, gained Saturday’s state competition by winning Section 6’s all-around, unevens, beam and floor.

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