The Lakeland gymnastics team has had smaller numbers in the past. Even with those small numbers, they are ready to compete under new leadership.
Mikaila Walker takes over the program as the new head coach. One of the things she is emphasizing is goal-setting.
The gymnastics program at Lakeland is quite small. Walker said she is here to make sure it keeps on going so these girls get to continue their passion.
“I really want to keep the program going at LUHS,” she said. “These girls work really hard and I want them to continue to be able to do something they love.”
One of the first things Walker did as coach was allow everyone to get a taste of what they wanted to do.
During one of the first days of practice, all the girls went and tried all the different gymnastics events.
One group tried uneven bars, one group tried the beam and the other floor. Not only did they get a chance to try something else, but they did specific exercises to help them focus on that event.
“(This gives them a) taste of what they want to do and it’s letting me get to know the girls, too, since it’s my first year of coaching,” Walker said.
A couple of gymnasts return to this year’s squad.
“We have quite a few returning for this season. They are all working hard to meet their goals for this season,” Walker said.
One of those gymnasts is Julie Neuberg. Last season at the Great Northern Conference meet, Neuberg placed third on the vault with a score of 8.350, giving her honorable mention all-conference for the event in the Small division.
At the sectional meet on Feb. 22 at Antigo, Neuberg finished 12th in the vault with a score of 8.2. She also did uneven bars placing 16th with a score of 6.525.
Cameryn Teichmiller returns, participating in everything but beam. On the floor, Teichmiller finished 28th at sectionals with a score of 5.975.
Anna Thompson is back, competing in everything but floor. At sectionals, Thompson finished tied for 24th on the vault with a score of 7.45.
Katy Mueth is another gymnast this season, competing in everything.
“All of them have the potential to be top gymnasts this year,” Walker said.
The Thunderbirds compete in the Small division of the GNC. Both Medford and Rhinelander are the teams to beat in the small division.
“All competition is good, it helps us work on bettering ourselves as athletes,” Walker said.
One of the highlights of this season’s schedule are two consecutive home meets on Jan. 14 and 23. The first will be against Chequamegon and the second against Rhinelander. Both start at 5:45 p.m.
“Our fun meets should be our back-to-back home meets where we get to honor not only our parents but our seniors,” Walker said.
The Thunderbirds have some intriguing meets in February. Medford will be a tough test on Feb. 6 in Medford. Then they wrap up competition Feb. 22 with the GNC meet at Chequamegon High School.
In order to be at their best this season, the girls will work at their craft and get stronger.
“We have practice Monday through Friday,” Walker said. “We spend time within the weight rooms, working at all stations and then time modifying our routines with support of the whole team.”
Their first meet comes Tuesday, Dec. 10 at Mosinee starting at 5:45 p.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]