It's difficult to put a finger on exactly why Roseville has stayed atop the Class 2A gymnastics scene as long as it has. The Raiders have a wonderful facility at the high school. They have one of the state's most dedicated coaches in assistant Julie Castellano, who returns from her permanent home in Boston each winter to remain a part of the team. But most likely it's tradition. Roseville has won four consecutive team championships, its second run of four in a row over the past 10 years. Despite losing Isis Muller and Kaylee Strecker to graduation, the Raiders have plenty of talent ready to step up. They'll get a big challenge from their Suburban East Conference rival, the East Ridge Raptors, whom they face in a dual meet on Dec. 10. A lot more will be known from that result.
Last February Northfield's Bailey DuPay became the first three-time all-around champion in Class 2A. DuPay has graduated, so who are the top candidates to take home the prestigious individual honor? Roseville's Jessica Strecker is the top returning finisher in the field, taking fourth. Teammate Kayla Soplata could be in mix as well. East Ridge has two serious contenders in seniors Megan Trollen and Wren Anderson. Rosemount sophomore Josey Schlie has long been touted as the next big thing and this could be her year. Keep an eye on St. Francis' Natalie Wasche, Champlin Park's Taylor Guckeen and Orono newcomer Sam Abler.
Yeah, everyone knows, gymnastics attracts young athletes. But the influx of young gymnasts this year bodes well for the future of high school gymnastics, which has battled perception problems, a low profile and a lack of adequate facilities and coaches. Wayzata received five newcomers in grades nine or lower, led by the eighth-grade Treanor twins, Grace and Izzy. Prior Lake's top two new gymnasts are an eighth-grader and a seventh-grader. Champlin Park has high hopes for seventh-grader Chaney Neu, as does Bloomington Jefferson for eighth-grader Emily Koch. Watertown-Mayer, third in Class 1A last season, has added three exceptional seventh-graders in Paige Thibault, Olivia Hertzog and Rosie Unglab.