The Vermillion Gymnastics team competed at the State Meet in Brookings this past weekend. The Tanagers finished eighth with 125.925 total points. Deuel came in first with 143.625 points.

“This season was a highly competitive year for Class A gymnastics, but the girls did a great job representing Vermillion,” said head coach Shannon Fitzsimmons. “Our JV team had a wonderful season, performing higher level routines than last year, and our varsity girls consistently scored higher marks as a team than in previous years.”

The team competition took place on the first day of the state meet last Friday. Seniors Carter Williams and Peyton Larson, sophomore Elaina Taggart, freshman Mackenzie Brady, and seventh-graders Serena Gapp and Tori Farmer competed for Vermillion.

The two seniors shared what they liked most about this past weekend.

“The thing I enjoyed most about the state meet is spending time with my teammates and working together to put up a good team score,” said Williams. “This season, I’ve enjoyed learning new skills and making memories in the gym.”

“The thing I most enjoyed about the state meet was that I got to spend time with my team and make memories I’ll never forget,” said Larson. “This season has been so enjoyable to me because I have grown as a person and spent time with my favorite people and really grown as a gymnast.”

Williams was chosen as part of class A’s All-Tournament Team. She placed fifth in the all-around with a total score of 35.0. Williams finished seventh in the vault (9.075), the beam (8.9), and also tied for seventh in the bars (8.225). She placed tenth in the floor exercise (8.8).

“Carter Williams was able to cap off an exceptional career with a fifth-place finish in the all-around,” said coach Fitzsimmons. “For her to perform at such a high level through all the adversity that occurs throughout a six-year time frame is a testament to her passion and commitment to gymnastics.”

Brady finished 24th in the all-around with 31.825 as a combined score. She was part of a three-way tie for 20th in the vault (8.6) and placed 24th in the beam (8.325). Brady also tied for 30th in the floor exercise (7.9) and for 34th in the bars (7.0).

Larson took on the beam at state. She finished 40th with a 6.15.

Gapp competed in the bars and in the beam. She tied for 26th in the beam (8.275) and finished 27th in the bars (7.325).

Coach Fitzsimmons states the two seniors have been great teammates throughout their years in gymnastics.

“Peyton Larson and Carter Williams have led this young team by showing our girls how to be positive teammates and teaching our girls what it means to be dedicated as well as how to chase after your goals,” said Coach Fitzsimmons. “Both gymnasts have been a staple on our varsity team for many years and have been incredible role-models for Vermillion Gymnastics.”

The seniors also had some final thoughts about the sport as their last season wrapped up this past weekend.

“I think the biggest lesson I learned from this sport was discipline,” said Williams. “I learned how to brush off a bad day and switch my mindset to positive thoughts instead of negative ones on tough days which I believe will help me in my future.”

Larson agreed. “Gymnastics has really taught me true confidence, and I’d have to agree with Carter saying that it really makes you a stronger person in a sort of way. It helps you push away whatever bad has happened and keep pushing no matter what the situation.”

Although the two are going to miss this moving on, they are excited to see the team and program continue being successful.

“This program is really special,” said Williams. “We’re a family here, and we’ve gotten closer as the years have passed on. I’m really going to miss it. Although, I’m excited to see what my teammates will do in the future!”

“What this school has going for a gymnastics program is really special,” said Larson. “The team aspect has gotten better over the years. Even though it isn’t seen as a ‘team’ sport to many people, it is. You need your team to support you throughout your routine and even career. The Vermillion team really makes that special. One last thing: go birds!”

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