Normally in a school the size of Hot Springs the loss of four seniors, three of whom had ended their scholastic career at the state meet, would mean a rebuilding year. But for Coach Dana Nachtigall and her Hot Springs High School Lady Bison gymnastics team, it is full speed ahead for the 2014-15 season.
“It’s always hard to lose four seniors,” Nachtigall allowed, “but the girls are working hard and I expect them to grow and improve each week that goes by; that’s the goal.”
2014 seniors Leana Dappen, Morgan Smart, Gabby Woepel and Dani Janis have departed the apparatus, but three seniors are next in line to continue the Bison gymnastics tradition.
Grace Rickenbach qualified at last year’s state meet in her specialty, the Balance Beam, and will lead this year’s young, but deep and talented team. Joining her will be fellow seniors Sasha Stover and Cassidy Skrdlant.
A freshman, Josie Haden, is the only returning state meet placer on this year’s roster, as Haden claimed 12th place on the Beam. She will be joined in the returning-state-meet-qualifiers group by a pair of juniors – Lexy Preheim and Zoe Anderson.
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Another freshman, Diamond Miller is poised to make her presence known on the team this season after a strong JV season, along with 8th grader Tierra Schroeder.
And Nachtigall has a strong crop of young gymnasts making the commitment this year as well, led by freshmen Shelby Roda and Sara Wilde, and 8th grader Lexy Deering.
“We have some spots to fill and lots of young girls coming up, so I think it will be fun to watch this team improve each meet,” Coach Nachtigall said.
Last year the Bison sent 9 gymnasts to the state meet, after taking third in their region. The team went on to finish 8th in the team race at the state meet.
“I am looking forward to building a great group of girls into a team that will continue our Bison gymnastics tradition,” Nachtigall said.