The Milbank Area gymnastics team opened their 2021-2022 season at the Sisseton-Wahpeton Triangular on November 30. Amber Fraasch, head coach of the Lady Bulldogs,says,... Yamaura and Mathews Boost Team To Highest-Ever Opening Season Score

The Milbank Area gymnastics team opened their 2021-2022 season at the Sisseton-Wahpeton Triangular on November 30. Amber Fraasch, head coach of the Lady Bulldogs,says, “We were down one gymnast, but seniors Madison Mathews and Dani Yamaura decided to start their final season with rock-solid performances. Both hit all four routines to give us our highest-ever opening season score of 128.35.”

Coach Fraasch said, “Our night started great. We completed four no-stop, no-fall bar routines — great execution and nice scores. Yamaura led with a score of 7.80. Hannah Brown posted a personal best score of 7.350.

Mathews and Yamaura both also had no-fall beam routines. Mathews scored a personal best score of 7.950 and Yamaura led the beam team with a state-qualifying score of 8.5. 

Gemma Street competed in her first varsity all-around. Yamaura performed a strong floor lineup and posted an 8.70 for her first state-qualifying score. 

The Lady Bulldogs also added three-state qualifying scores in the vault division..  Aubrey Fraasch led the team with a state-qualifying score and tied her personal best score of 8.80.  Yamaura and Brown, with an 8.75 and an 8.60 respectively, also earned state-qualifying scores. Mathews tied her personal best score with a vault at 8.50.

Coach Fraasch said, “We had three gymnasts score over 32 points in the all-around at this meet. Mathews recorded a personal best all-around score of 32.550.

Next up for the Lady Bulldogs?

Saturday, December 4 – Varsity at Vermillion at 11:30 a.m.

Monday, December 6 – MS at Home at 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, December 7 – JV at Britton-Hecla at 5:30 p.m.

Updated Season Schedule*

Saturday, December 11th – V at Aberdeen at Noon

Tuesday, December 14th – V at Britton at 6 p.m.

Only Home Meet ***** Saturday, December 18 – JV/V at Home at 10 a.m.

Tuesday, December 21 – JV/V at Morris at 6 p.m.

*All start times are subject to change due the competition format chosen by the host school.

Update from Coach Fraasch

It’s been quite a few months since we’ve watched the girls in leotards perform, so Coach Fraasch answers all your questions about the Lady Bulldogs’ gymnastics team.

Why is it called Milbank Area Gymnastics?

Coach Fraasch, who has been instrumental in leading the Lady Bulldogs for 14 years, heads into her seventh year as head coach. She said, “The name Milbank Area Bulldog Gymnastics represents many towns. We are now in our fifth co-op year with Ortonville and fourth co-op year with Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (CGB).  We are one team but we are comprised of gymnasts that live in many towns.”

Who is on the team? 

”This season we welcome back Kelly Wollschlager for her fourth year as our assistant coach’” Coach Fraasch says.  “We also have five returning starters: Madison Mathews, Dani Yamaura, Rylie Overby, Aubrey Fraasch, and Hannah Brown. Mathews and Dani Yamaura are the senior leaders this year.”

Mathews competes in varsity all-around. She has qualified for the state meet on bars and floor for the past three years and added vault to her repertoire at State last year. According to Coach Fraasch, Mathews is well known for her clean execution.” 

Yamaura has been an all-around varsity letter winner the past four years. She had the highest all-around and beam score for the Milbank team last year and qualified for State in all events. She finished the season with two top-15 finishes at State on floor and the all-around. Coach Fraasch added, “Dani has been on the varsity team since the seventh grade and has provided the most points in two of the last three years”.

Junior Rylie Overby competed in varsity all-around last year and has qualified for the state meet the last two years on vault and beam. Coach Fraasch said, “Her hard work paid off when she scored a personal best in floor at the team state meet last season.” 

Sophomore Aubrey Fraasch is a returning three-year varsity letter winner and all-around gymnast. Her coach said, “Aubrey had the highest bars and floor score for the team last season and qualified for State in all her events. Aubrey finished in the top 15 at State on beam and all-around last season” She was also voted most dedicated by her teammates last year.

Freshman Hannah Brown lettered as an eighth grader last year. Hannah qualified for state on the vault in her first year as a varsity competitor. Coach Fraasch said, “Due to Minnesota Covid shutdowns, Hannah missed half the season last year. She has tons of potential and with a full season this year, we see great things in her future.”

Gemma Street is looking to score some varsity competition time. Freshman Johana Jimenez; eighth graders Jaiden Tillotson and Kaia Tillotson; and seventh graders Macyn Dunnihoo and Mady Sletten are hopeful they will see some junior varsity competition time.

Have any rules changed this year? According to Coach Fraasch, ,“The rules are changed every two years, and this is not a rule change year. However, they decreased the number of state qualifiers from the top nine teams to the top eight teams. They also lowered the qualifying score on the bar from 8.3 to 8.0 due to its difficulty.” (More about that below.)

What exactly does a state-qualifying score mean?  To qualify for the state meet a gymnast must get a state-qualifying score in three varsity meets or qualify at the regional meet. The qualifying score on vault and floor is 8.600, beam is 8.300, and bars is now 8.000.  In order to compete at state in the all-around, a gymnast must qualify in all four events. 

What’s the forecast for this season?  

Vault: We have a powerful vault team and are working on some big vaults. If we can successfully complete them, our vault team could be one of the best in South Dakota.

Bars: We have always had clean bars, but scoring high has been a challenge due to the way the rules are written. We have been working on adding difficulty and event requirements for the last few years. Unfortunately, if the new skills are not done perfectly the judges deduct more than the skill is worth. Many times we’ve had to revert to our basic clean bar routine. Our goal this year is to clean up our new skills in order to add value and increase our scores. We have only had one gymnast pre-qualify for the state meet for this event in the past 12 years. Perhaps this will be the year that changes.

Beam: On beam, we need to have the confidence and consistency that we had three seasons ago when we set the beam record. We have a lineup capable of full difficulty, full event requirements, and full bonus. After that, the score is mainly execution and staying on the beam.

Floor: With confidence and consistency, we can hit our big tumbling and jumps, to get some great scores. We will need to hit four out of five consistently to compete with the best in the state. We also want to have a lineup that has full difficulty, event requirements, and bonus on the floor exercise. Creating routines that showcase our strengths while maintaining clean execution will be key to gaining state qualifying scores.

Team Goals? Our goal is to Qualify for the state meet as a team and placing in the top half. We also want to get all varsity competing gymnasts qualified for the state individual competition, and increase the number of top-15 individual finishes. She noted another rule change this year — only the top 10 place at the state meet in individual competition. She  xxxx We have multiple gymnasts capable of reaching this level.

How do the Lady Bulldogs stack up against the competition?

Coach Fraasch believes, “We will have strong competition in the northeast corner of the state with Deuel being the favorite to take the NEC title again this year. Region 1A will be a tough region again this year with Deuel and Madison among the teams. Both teams will be on the hunt for another title this year. Madison might have more depth, but Deuel always finishes the season strong.

What about the competition from the West River teams?

We normally only see the West River teams once a year, but we go back to Vermillion this year.  Three teams– Wagner/Bon Homme, Hot Springs, and Chamberlain — each scored over 130 points last year and will most likely be looking to finish in the top four.

When can fans catch the Lady Bulldogs at home? The first and only home meet is the JV/Varsity Invitational in Milbank on Saturday, December 18.


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