Orioles flip to fifth

Orioles gymnastics salute as season ends


Cole Denham

Park gymnasts prepare to compete on vault Feb. 18. The Orioles placed fifth at the 6AA Sections meet at Hopkins High School.

Anya Panday

On Feb. 18, Park’s Orioles finished out its gymnastics season at the 6AA Sections meet, with a chance to qualify for the state meet. After flipping, tumbling and jumping on four different events, the Orioles placed 5th out of 9 teams with an all-around score of 128.475.

According to head coach Dawn Tielen, the competitiveness of the 6AA Section for gymnastics can change the Orioles’ mindset.

“We have a tough section with Wayzata and Hopkins,” Tielen said. “The way that impacts the gymnasts varies from girl to girl. It’s one of those mindsets of going in and doing the best we can. Whatever the result is, as long as we know we put in our best effort, that’s all we can hope for.”

Senior captain Sophia Earle said that while competing at sections didn’t change her mentality much, she tried to keep a positive attitude.

“Considering that this meet was sections didn’t change a lot,” Earle said. “However, I made sure to focus on a positive mentality and make sure that I focus on not comparing myself to other gymnasts since our section is really competitive.”

Tielen said the team prepared for sections by focusing on connecting their skills and supporting each other.

“We didn’t prepare much differently than we normally would,” Tielen said. “We talked through what connecting skills are to the girls and we had them watch each other. They cheered each other on and helped coach each other through that skill. Besides that, we just perfected what we had and worked on getting confident with our skills.”

Freshman Veronica Jones said the Orioles prepare for meets by practicing consistently. 

“We prepare by constantly doing our routines at practice,” Jones said. “This builds up more confidence and more understanding of what’s going to help raise our scores.”

Earle said that in preparation for this meet, the Orioles focused on scoring, points and consistency.

“The past week, we’ve nailed our routines in practice, and worked on them whenever we didn’t nail them,” Earle said. “We focused on making jump connections and tumbling connections, we worked with the coaches to make sure we had enough point values going into sections and making sure we met all of the skill requirements.”

According to Tielen the balance beam was the Orioles’ strongest event due to the mental challenges it poses.

“Beam was probably our strongest event because that is the hardest event to overcome, it’s very much a mental game,” Tielen said. “Beam is the event that can make or break you, you either kill it at beam and you do great and you move on or you didn’t make it and it’s up to you to move on with a positive mindset.”

According to Earle, she viewed this meet positively as it was her last, and she’s proud of her accomplishments.

“Going into the meet, I felt really excited,” Earle said. “This was my last section meet ever so I was ready to go in there and give it my all. I felt accomplished and really proud of what I did.”