Mahtomedi gymastics stirring up more success

  • Article by: AARON PAITICH , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 18, 2014 - 5:24 PM

Buoyed by the addition of a former club gymnast, Mahtomedi’s gymnastics team is forging another strong run at reaching state.


Morgan Long, Mahtomedi Photo: Cathi Kurkowski

Photo: submitted photo, DML -

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger


Led by longtime coach Debbie Driscoll, Mahtomedi emerged as a gymnastics dynasty in the 1980s and ’90s. Between 1982 and 1996, the Zephyrs captured 10 state championships, including a stretch of six consecutive titles from 1988 to 1993.

They have hoisted 30 conference championships in Driscoll’s 36 years of coaching. She hopes No. 31 will come this winter.

The secret to Driscoll’s success? “I don’t know,” Driscoll said. “That is a very good question.”

That’s humility, of course. Driscoll and her staff have built and sustained a prosperous program, even without a local gymnastics club helping feed the varsity program. They have a junior high program, which Driscoll also runs. The coaches work closely with those girls and encourage them to suit up for the Zephyrs once they reach the varsity level.

Mahtomedi is off to a great start this year, with hopes of defending its Classic Suburban Conference championship and Class 2A, Section 4 crown.

The strength of the Zephyrs was evident at the Minnesota Girls’ Gymnastics Coaches Association Invite at Roseville a few weeks ago. It is considered one of the top high school meets in the Midwest.

The invite included 16 total teams. Mahtomedi, with the smallest school enrollment of any participating team by far — and they placed third, just behind No. 2-ranked Roseville and Wayzata but ahead of Lakeville North and Minnetonka.

It was the Zephyrs’ season-high score of 138.2.

“We were really excited about that,” Driscoll said. “They were feeling very good after that, especially since it’s still early in the season.”

That was Beth Kurkowski’s first meet participating in the all-around for Mahtomedi. About one week before the season started, Kurkowski decided to come and try out for the Zephyrs instead of sticking with her local club.

“She’s really boosted up our team scores,” Driscoll said.

Kurkowski earned a Level 10 designation with her club team. Driscoll estimated there are about 40 girls in Minnesota with the Level 10 designation, which is the highest level a gymnast can reach before being able to qualify for the national team.

Kurkowski came to the Zephyrs program injured, which was one of the main reasons she left her club team, Driscoll said.

“I know it was a really hard decision for her, because she did really like her club,” Driscoll said. “But she was just tired of dealing with the injuries.”

The coaches have been slowly working to get her skills back, but they don’t want to push her too quickly to the point of re-injury.

“She backs up a really good team,” Driscoll said.

That team includes Morgan Long, a senior captain who placed 16th in the balance beam at last season’s state meet and should be even stronger this year.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit - LP: R. Ray 6 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly 20
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 13 FINAL
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 5
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 5
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Gray 5
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 6
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 72 FINAL
Phoenix 75





question of the day

Poll: How closely will you follow the Lynx in the WNBA playoffs?

Weekly Question


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters