Despite team sectional disappointment, Holmen advancing 3 individuals to State

We always appreciate honesty from our local athletes, and Holmen gymnastics was very honest with News 8 Now Sports this week. After qualifying for State as a team this year, the team missed out on another appearance due to falling short at sectionals.

It doesn’t sit well with them.

But as tough as it was, the Vikings do send juniors Harley Bartels, Maddy Melby and Ava Clark to State as individuals.

Bartels qualified for all around and floor, while Melby will head to the vault and Clark on bars.

Coach calls Clark’s bar routine beautiful, not a deduction to be found. Bartels has been strongest on floor all season long, and Melby’s Tsuk vault is a new challenge she’s taken on this year.

In these final days before State, the juniors are looking to add to their routines to increase their potential scores.

“I’m going to try to do either a pike or layout instead of just the regular tuck [on vault,]” Melby said.

“All season I’ve been working on a front handspring, front 1.5 to put as my second pass, so that’s a goal,” said Bartels.

They’re also excited at the prospect of not competing with masks on at State. Just as it was at sectionals, teams had to warm up in masks but could do their routines without them, which Holmen says makes a huge difference.

And while it’s just the three of them competing this weekend, their young Holmen team is one that has everyone excited for the future.

“During floor at sectionals my last pass I’m usually out of breath, and that one didn’t feel like that,” Bartels recalled. “I had more energy and just felt way better.”

“I think the team overall this year is just more of a team,” Melby said. “We communicate a lot better, we’re all better friends than in the past, and I really enjoyed it this year with all the new freshmen.”

As opposed to past normal years, State this year is on one day, instead of the usual team competition on day one and individuals on day two.