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West Allis girls gymnasts seek fresh start this year

Dec. 17, 2013

Many things are new for the 2013-14 West Allis girls gymnastics squad.

The team chose new colors and leos and welcomes two freshmen in Marlea Mastropolo and Mackenzie Scherer, who both have club experience.

"They show great passion for the sport and are a positive addition to our team," head coach Amanda Kohnke said of the freshmen.

West Allis also has two juniors, Haley Gagliano and Gabby Raab, and a pair of sophomores, Sydnee Tomczak and Maggie Pomerenke.

The team must replace WIAA Division 1 state qualifier Emily Fuchs, who graduated.

Despite the presence of Fuchs, however, the team struggled for most of last season.

"We came into the season excited for a fresh start," Kohnke said. "Every gymnast has a goal of developing new skills at higher levels this year."

The team opened with a dual-meet loss to Whitefish Bay, 104.5 points to 90.2 points, on Dec. 11.

"We were only able to compete in three events due to equipment problems with the bars," the coach said, "but overall, we had a pretty decent first meet."

Tomczak posted a 9.1 on floor exercise to lead West Allis.

"I am extremely excited to see where Sydnee can take her routines this year," Kohnke said. "We made several adjustments and her start values have really increased.

"Right after the meet, Sydnee came up to me with ideas to help improve her floor and beam routines. She really wants it this year."

West Allis then sent Tomczak, Gagliano, Mastropolo and Pomerenke to the Waterford Invitational on Saturday.

Tomczak posted an all-around score of 34 points, including a 9.05 on floor exercise. Gagliano notched 8.575 in vaulting and 8.4 on floor.

"Haley is really showing strength in her floor routine as well as bars and vault," Kohnke said. "She is extremely close to developing new skills."

Overall, Kohnke is optimistic.

"I have an extremely intelligent team and everyone wants to improve," she said. "I hope to see the state meet in the future for this team, and with their dedication, it is definitely possible."

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