Roseville's team reacted after hearing Northfield's named called as second place knowing that they had won first after the Class 2A gymnastics state meet at the Sport Pavilion in Minneapolis Friday, February 21, 2014 ] (KYNDELL HARKNESS/STAR TRIBUNE)
What makes the Roseville gymnastics team great? Simple. The Raiders know what they have to do. And then they go out and do it.
Roseville took what was expected to be a down-to-the-final-somersault battle and turned it into a case study on performing under pressure.
The Raiders owned the Class 2A gymnastics team championship from the outset, rolling to a 151.8 team score en route to their third consecutive title and seventh in the past nine years.
Going into the meet, Roseville was No. 2 in the final state rankings, percentage points behind Northfield. Looking as comfortable at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion as if it were their home gym — which, considering their résumé, isn’t that far-fetched — the Raiders started the meet with a 37.9 score on the vault. They followed with a remarkable 38.35 on the uneven bars. With half of the meet to go, it would have taken a disaster to pry the title away from them.
“We just wanted to keep up the tradition and not let anyone down,” said senior Carly Wagner. “It helps to know we were doing well. When we do our best, good things happen.”
Northfield, to its credit, never wilted, but it would have taken a near-perfect meet to beat Roseville on this night.
Its team score of 150.8 was the best in meet history for a nonwinning team. Always terrific junior Bailey DuPay, who will attempt to repeat as the Class 2A all-around champion in Saturday’s individual competition, posted an all-around score of 39.075.
Still, it wasn’t enough to overcome Roseville’s depth and cohesiveness. The Raiders feed off one another, and they feasted Friday night. Whether it was Isis Muller nailing a bars routine, Wagner with a stellar vault or Jessica Strecker with a flawless balance beam routine, Roseville just kept getting better and better.
“We have physical preparation and we have mental preparation,” said assistant coach Julie Castellano.
“We go through a mental routine, using key words in certain places and focusing on trouble spots. It’s about building confidence and supporting each other.”
As if to emphasize their victory, the Raiders closed the meet with an exuberant floor exercise.
When Muller finished Roseville’s final routine of the night, Castellano led a charge onto the floor for a group congratulations.
The official results were still being tabulated, but everyone in the arena knew it was Roseville — once again.
“For us,” Castellano said, “Success is a team sport.”