Young Holmen gymnastics team pushing for new heights in 2020
Holmen gymnastics experienced a year of transition last season, when Katie Canar succeeded longtime head coach Karen Kuhlmann.
Holmen’s winning culture didn’t miss a beat. They took the MVC and sent two then-freshmen to State. Year two under Canar features more young stars, as well as a renewed determination to take the program further than ever before.
With a year under her belt, Canar says she’s in a great place with this current team, and her athletes say she’s a great leader.
“I love that she’s not all hands-on,” sophomore Kamryn McNally said. “She’s more of a ‘I’ll be there if you need me,’ but it’s not like a ‘I’m going to force you to do it. If you have the willpower to do it, I’ll let you do it.'”
Canar directs a varsity team that has four sophomores and one senior. Two of those sophomores, Harley Bartels and Maddy Melby, can still remember the nerves they felt last March at the state meet.
“There’s a lot of people, and I was actually first for the whole competition on beam, so that was really scary,” Melby said.
“I didn’t think that I could do it, and when I finally made it to state, I was super excited, and I did really well on my beam,” Bartels said.
For Bartels and Melby, getting a taste of state competition has fueled their competitive nature.
“There’s a lot more pressure this year,” Bartels said, “because I feel like if I don’t make it, I’ll let people down.”
That pressure gets more intense when they see how the rest of the conference is shaping up.
“I think it’s going to be pretty difficult, because there’s a lot of good girls from each team,” Melby said.
They put that pressure on themselves because they want to give Holmen all they have. Canar says that mentality has been great to see.
“I’ve known Harley and Maddy since they were just little tykes,” she said. “I coached them when I was younger. They’ve just grown and evolved as gymnasts and as women.”
There’s still a ways to go before conference and sectionals, but with each Viking pressuring themselves and each other to improve, the potential of this team continues to climb.
“Our top score is a 139, and we didn’t get anywhere close to that last season, so it’s just really nice to see improvement,” Bartels said.
Holmen hosted an MVC meet Thursday night and won the meet with over 136.95 points scored.
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